UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., May 1, 2007-
Penn State Heads to Maryland
After going 2-2 in the final home weekend of the season, the Lions travel to College Park, Md. for a doubleheader with the Terrapins beginning at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 2. The games at Maryland will be the final non-conference contests for the Lions this season. Game one of the doubleheader will be televised live on CSTV.
Lions¡¯ Record Against the Terrapins
Penn State and Maryland first met in 1999. The Lions hold a 4-1 edge in the series. The last meeting between the Lions and Terps was in 2005 at the Crimson Classic hosted by the University of Alabama where Penn State defeated Maryland, 7-1. The lone loss for the Nittany Lions came in 2002 when they dropped a 5-1 decision at the Seminole Classic.
Up Next: Ohio State
The Lions will head to Columbus, Ohio for their final regular season Big Ten games with Ohio State. The Buckeyes are currently leading the Big Ten with a 12-2 record. Penn State sits in eighth with a 5-7 record and is 2-6 in its last eight Big Ten games. Game one of the series will be played on Saturday, May 5 at 1:00 p.m. Game two will be at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 6.
Penn State Drops Two to Purdue
Prior to Sunday¡¯s games against Purdue, seniors Meghan Wolfer (Northampton, Pa.), Jen Williams (Stillwater, Okla.), Kari Lucas (Centre Hall, Pa.) and Kelsey Francisco (State College, Pa.) were honored for their contributions to Penn State softball. Despite the emotion of the day, Penn State could not gather any momentum in game one, falling 1-0 to Purdue on a Kelsey Haupert solo home run. In game two, Purdue took an early lead when Candace Cooper hit a solo homer in the bottom of the first inning. Kayce Zielinski (Arlington, Texas) tied the game in the fourth when she scored off a Purdue error on a Hollee Haines (Riverside, Calif.) single. Purdue scored the go-ahead run in the sixth when a wild pitch on an intentional walk brought Ashley Hall across the plate. Penn State could not rally and dropped a 2-1 decision to the Boilermakers. The sweep by Purdue was the first time the Boilers have swept the Lions since the 1996 season.
Lions Dominate Indiana In Sweep
Penn State put together a dynamic performance against the Hoosiers, taking game one, 4-1, and game two, 14-1. In game one, junior pitcher Ashley Esparza (San Pedro, Calif.) struck out 11 Hoosiers en route to the win. Indiana scored in the top of the first to take a 1-0 lead, but an RBI single from Kayce Zielinski tied the game. The Lions added two runs in the third and a solo homer by Zielinski gave the Lions the final 4-1 margin. In game two, Penn State racked up 14 hits. A grand slam by Zielinski in the fourth got the scoring started. The next batter up, Jenn Reynolds (Clovis, Calif.), jacked a solo homer to give the Lions a 5-0 lead. In the fourth, the Lions scored nine runs, including three runs due to wild pitches and an Esparza two RBI homer. Indiana plated one run in the fifth, but Penn State captured the 14-1 victory in only five innings.
Penn State and the Big Ten Tournament
If the Big Ten Tournament happened this weekend, Penn State would make it as the No. 8 seed. However, the conference tournament is still two weeks away and the seeding is up in the air. Penn State¡¯s games with Ohio State will have major implications for the tournament. A single Penn State victory will cement the Lions¡¯ spot in the tournament. Northwestern will be rooting for Penn State because if Ohio State can capture both games, the Buckeyes will win the conference outright. If Ohio State drops one game, Northwestern will wear the conference crown.
Madura Etches Spot in History Books with Career Day
Sophomore third baseman Shana Madura (Slate Hill, N.Y.) shattered the school RBI record on Tuesday, April 24, finishing game one against Bucknell with seven RBI. In the second inning, Madura stepped to the plate and cracked her third homer of the season, a three-run shot that also scored Jenn Reynolds and Kayce Zielinski. Madura picked up her fourth RBI when she was walked with the bases loaded in the fourth, bringing Ashley Esparza home. The New York native hit her second three-run homer of the game in the fourth inning, scoring Reynolds and Hollee Haines. She finished the game with seven RBI. The previous record for RBI in a game was five, most recently tied by Haines this past weekend against Illinois. Madura also tied the school record for long balls in a game with two. The last two-homer game for the Lions happened on April 27, 2005 when Haines cracked two against Akron.
Records to Watch
Several Nittany Lions are close to setting season and career records. Sophomore Danielle Kinley (Carlsbad, Calif.) is currently batting .408 and has the season batting average record of .413 set by Nan Sichler in 1988 firmly in her sights. Kinley is also only three doubles away from breaking teammate Jen Acunto¡¯s (Hollywood, Fla.) season record of 18. As for career records, Acunto currently sits tied for second all-time in doubles with 37. She needs only two to jump to the top of the charts. Ashley Esparza (San Pedro, Calif.) is tied for fifth on the career doubles list with 30. Four juniors on this year¡¯s squad hold places on the top 10 career homeruns list. Acunto leads the way for the class, sitting in third with 19 career homers. Right on her tail is Esparza with 18. Jenn Reynolds(Clovis, Calif.) is in eighth with 14 homers and Hollee Haines sits in ninth with 13. Senior Meghan Wolfer has 53 career sacrifice hits, giving her second all-time to Dena Tauriello¡¯s 69.
Kinley Stays Hot
Sophomore Danielle Kinley continues to hit above .400 this season with a .408 (53-for-130) average. The California native is currently second in the Big Ten in batting average, trailing only Northwestern¡¯s Tammy Williams. Kinley is also ranked in the conference top six of two other categories, on base percentage (.483, 6th) and doubles (16, tied for 2nd). She leads the team in hits (53), RBI (28), and extra base hits (18). She hit two doubles and three singles in two games against Illinois on April 22. Against No. 7 Northwestern, she went 3-for-4 in two games, including a 2-for-2 performance in game two with a double. In the Judi Garman Classic, she went a perfect 4-for-4 in Penn State¡¯s upset win over No. 9 Michigan, including two doubles and two RBI. She also cracked her second homer of the season when taking on No. 17 Louisiana-Lafayette.
Powered Up: Zielinski and Madura
Sophomore Kayce Zielinski started slow as a freshman, hitting only .082, but this season, she has stepped up at the plate and is batting .304 (38-for-125). In Penn State¡¯s upset win over No. 7 Northwestern, Zielinski belted her third homer of the season, the game-winning two-RBI shot. The Texas native also belted her first career grand slam in the Lions¡¯ 14-1 win over Indiana. Classmate Shana Madura hit only .083 last season, but in her sophomore campaign, she is hitting .299. Against Kent State, she belted the game-winning homer, her first of the season, and has scattered 10 hits over the last 14 games. She also hit a solo homerun in Penn State¡¯s 6-0 win over Pitt. She broke the school record for RBI in a game with seven when she cracked two three-run homers and had an RBI walk against Bucknell. Madura has hit safely in the last eight straight games for Penn State, starting with game one at Illinois on April 22 and continuing through the most recent game, last Sunday¡¯s second game against Purdue.