Softball Goes to Ohio State Looking to Capture Big Ten Berth (Game Notes)
STATE COLLEGE, Pa., May 1, 2003 - The Penn State softball team closes out the regular season slate on this weekend on May 3 and 4 at Ohio State. Currently tied for sixth place in the Big Ten standings, the Nittany Lions are looking to capture their fifth-straight conference tournament berth.
Penn State (29-20, 8-8 Big Ten) is tied with Northwestern (30-15, 9-9 Big Ten) in the Big Ten standings. The top six teams in the league advance to the tournament. While the Nittany Lions take on the Buckeyes (25-22, 4-10 Big Ten), the Wildcats host 24th-ranked Illinois (37-11, 11-5 Big Ten) who stands in third place.
The Buckeyes started out the year strong and were ranked as high as 18th in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll earlier in the season. OSU has struggled in Big Ten play but posted a quality win over No. 13 Michigan. The Buckeyes topped the Wolverines, 4-0, on April 19.
The Lions trail Ohio State in the all-time series, 29-22, since 1999, however, the teams have split the last 10 meetings. Last year in the final regular season weekend, PSU spoiled the Buckeyes' chances of winning their first-ever Big Ten regular season title when the Lions topped then-No. 19 Ohio State in game one of the two game series, 1-0. OSU came back to defeat the Lions 4-1. Ohio State then went on to win a close contest, 4-3, to knock Penn State out of the Big Ten Tournament.
Penn State is coming off of a doubleheader sweep at Kent State on April 29, 2-0 and 4-0. The Lions got clutch hitting performances from junior Erica Greenberg (Irvine, Calif./Calvary Chapel) and senior Megan Humphrey (San Diego, Calif./Mount Carmel). Greenberg had one hit in each game and drove in runs to help the Lions to the wins. Humphrey was responsible for two of the three runs in the 4-0 victory. She belted out a two-run homer and an RBI-double to break the game open. Humphrey moved into third place on Penn State's all-time career home run list with 15 and is one two-bagger away from tying the school's career record.
Since dropping a 5-3 decision to Michigan State on April 19, redshirt sophomore Shana Riggleman (Seaford, Del./Seaford) has been tough to beat, going 5-0 in five starts, including shutting out then-No. 13 Michigan, 1-0, in nine innings. She has also posted an 0.78 earned run average, striking out 12 and walking just four batters in 36.0 innings of work.
Each game of the two-game series begins at 1 p.m. at Buckeye Field. All the action can be followed with live stats vis Penn State's athletics' web site at www.GoPSUsports.com or by going to Ohio State's site at . For more information on the Penn State softball team, visit www.GoPSUsports.com.