Softball Takes Two from Indiana for Second Series Sweep of the Weekend
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; May 1, 2005 - The Nittany Lion (34-18, 10-7 Big Ten) softball team completed an unblemished weekend by beating Indiana (13-39, 2-16 Big Ten) twice on Sunday, 1-0 and 4-2. Penn State beat Purdue twice this weekend, as well, for a perfect 4-0 Big Ten weekend for the squad.
GAME ONE: Indiana 0, Penn State 1
Lead-off hitter Jen Acunto (Hollywood, Fla.) helped the Lions jump out to a 1-0 lead when she smacked a homerun over the wall in left centerfield. The homer was her team-leading ninth homerun overall and her fourth in Big Ten play. It would prove to be the pivotal moment of the game.
To start the second inning, junior outfielder Leigh Murray (Fairfax Station, Va.) ripped a doubled to the leftfield wall. Third baseman Destinie Chavez (San Leandro, Calif.) got on base with a little blooper over the third baseman's head into shallow left field that moved Murray to third. Indiana pitcher Megan Roark issued a walk to second baseman Katie Stauffer (Manassas, Va.) to load the bases full of Lions, but Indiana came through with two outs when they needed them, leaving the game only a 1-0 PSU advantage.
The Lions tried to mount an offensive attack again in the fifth inning when Kelsey Francisco (State College, Pa.) was hit by a pitch and four straight balls walked Ashley Esparza (San Pedro, Calif.). Penn State couldn't convert, however, and the score remained 1-0 Penn State.
With 11 strikeouts from Missy Beseres (Golden Valley, Minn.) and another two from Esparza in relief, the single run was all PSU would need to win the game. Beseres is now 15-10 on the year. Esparza earned her first career save.
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 F Indiana 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Penn State 1 0 0 0 0 0 x 1
GAME TWO: Penn State 4, Indiana 2
The second inning of game two began with a hit through the left side from catcher Hollee Haines (Riverside, Calif.). A fielder's choice left pinch runner Kelsey Francisco on second base and Leigh Murray on first for designated Jenn Reynolds. Reynolds delivered the RBI double off the wall to put the Lions up 1-0 with no outs, but that's all the Lions would get in the inning.
A double to the outfield by Lauren Hines started the bottom of the fourth for Indiana. Catcher Tori Yamaguchi hit a single that looped over second baseman Katie Stauffer's glove to put runners at first and third with no outs. A bunt from Rachel Terry squeezed pinchrunner Julia Hamilton home to tie the ballgame at 1-1 still with no outs and runners on second and third bases for the Hoosiers. A hit to shortstop Jen Acunto was well-placed and left the Lions without a play and down one more run when Yamaguchi tagged home. The run gave Indiana a 2-1 lead and prompted a pitching change for the Lions. Reynolds faired no better vs. the first hitter she faced giving up an outfield single to Anna Olson that loaded the bases. Reynolds settled into a rhythm after that, getting the next three hitters to ground into fielder's choices and getting some good help from her defense to get out of the inning behind only 2-1.
With two outs in the top of the fifth, sophomore outfielder Jen Williams (Stillwater, Okla.) started the offense with a single to the outfield. Esparza followed with a single setting Haines up to tie the game with an RBI. Haines delivered with a hard hit groundball through the right side of the field that scored Williams from third to tie the game a 2-2.
Williams started the Lions out again in the seventh inning with a double. So with no outs and a tie game, the Lions had a good chance to take the lead again with the speedy Williams on second. A passed ball on Esparza's at-bat got Williams to third. The next hitter up, Haines came through again this time hitting a long fly ball to rightfield for the gamewinning-sacrifice, scoring Williams for the 3-2 lead. A Leigh Murray double to centerfield kept things going, and Reynolds followed with a walk. Junior third baseman Destinie Chavez smacked her sixth RBI hit straight up the middle to score Murray for the 4-2 advantage before the inning would end with a Lion strikeout.
It was up to Reynolds to shut the Hoosiers down in the bottom half of the inning. Indiana tried to make it interesting, loading the bases, but the freshman kept cool and earned her seventh win of the year with four strikeouts.
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 F Penn State 0 1 0 0 1 0 2 4 Indiana 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2
Penn State travels to Ohio State on Saturday and Sunday, May 7 and 8, to wrap-up the regular season. Both contests will begin at 1 p.m. The Nittany Lions will then continue with Big Ten Tournament action the weekend of May 12-14. The tournament is held at the field of the Big Ten regular season champions, which has yet to be determined.
ADDITIONAL LION NOTES:
Penn State held its annual awards banquet last night. This year's award recipients are as follows:
Offensive Co-MVPs: Jen Acunto, Ashley Esparza