Lions Host Nebraska in Final Regular-Season Series
May 3, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State hosts No. 14/15 Nebraska in the final series of the 2013 season. The conference foes square off first at 2 p.m. Saturday at Beard Field and Nittany Lion Softball Park before facing each other again at 2:36 p.m. Sunday and 1 p.m. Monday.
Penn State will celebrate the careers of its six seniors, Cassidy Bell (Bakersfield, Calif.), Shannon Hutchinson (Sewell, N.J.), Kailyn Johnson (Yorba Linda, Calif.), Rachel Myers (Millheim, Pa.), Alyssa Renwick (Laurens, S.C.) and Lauren Yao (Los Angeles, Calif.), immediately before first pitch Sunday. That contest will be aired live on the Big Ten Network.
Sunday, along with being Senior Day, is Pitch for Pink Day with proceeds benefitting Pennsylvania Pink Zone. Fans will receive free Pitch for Pink bracelets, also while supplies last, and the final postgame autograph of the season follows the contest. For more information about the Pink Zone, visit here.
ON THE HORIZON
A LOOK AT THE HUSKERS
As a team, Nebraska is tied for fifth in the Big Ten with a .295 batting average. First-year shortstop Alicia Armstrong leads a group of five Huskers with averages over .300 at the plate this season with a .358 mark, followed by senior outfielder Brooke Thomason (.338), junior catcher Taylor Edwards (.336), junior pitcher Tatum Edwards (.316) and sophomore outfielder Jordan Bettiol (.313). Taylor Edwards and Thomason have been efficient with runners in scoring position, bringing home 47 and 45 runners, respectively. Those numbers are good for third and fourth in the conference. Freshman outfielder Kiki Stokes presents the team's biggest base-stealing threat as she has swiped 12 bags on 15 attempts in 2013. The Edwards sisters have sent out a combined 21 home runs this season.
First-year hurler Emily Lockman ranks third in the Big Ten with a 1.67 ERA while Tatum Edwards follows in fifth with a 1.94 clip. With Lockman's 130.0 innings and Edwards' 180 frames, the two have combined to account for 310 of the team's 318 innings played this season. Edwards is fifth in the conference with 172 strikeouts.
A HISTORY OF THE SERIES
After throwing 0.1 innings in her first three years, Myers has been a consistent contributor to the Lion bullpen, accounting for 18.1 IP. Myers also recorded the first save of her career March 6 against Loyola (Chicago). Hutchinson has slapped her way to personal bests in batting average (.283), hits (26), runs (19), RBI (2), total bases (26), walks (9) and fielding percentage (.981) this year. Johnson reached the 20-RBI mark for the third time in her career this season (23) while she is just four runs, two doubles and two home runs off career-highs.
Renwick started the season out on fire at the plate, batting .476 through the first seven games and carries a personal-record .327 mark to the final weekend of regular-season play. She is just three hits off her record of 37 while she has recorded a career-high eight RBI, 18 runs, two triples and seven stolen bases. Limited by injury this season, Yao has not been able to replicate the offensive production of her sophomore and junior seasons but is still just one RBI away from hitting double-digits for the third time in her career. She has produced an on-base percentage of .300 or better each season, including a .326 mark this year, while blasting a career-best two home runs. Bell has rewritten the Penn State history books with her historic senior season while setting career-highs in batting average, hits, runs, home runs, total bases, slugging percentage, walks, stolen bases and on-base percentage.
THE BELL'S CHIME
With a home run in the first inning against Ohio State April 13, Bell broke the Penn State single-season record with her 17th of the season, passing Jennifer Tripken's mark of 16 from 2002. Bell hit her 18th of the season April 17 against Purdue to break her tie with Shannon Salsburg (1995-98) at the top of the career leaderboard, posting the 35th of her career.
Against Kent State Wednesday, Bell became just the sixth Nittany Lion to record 200 or more hits with her solo home run in the first inning. Bell is the first Penn Stater to score 50 or more times in a season after crossing home for the 50th time of 2013 April 26 at Iowa.
Noting her offensive capabilities, opposing teams have opted to intentionally walk Bell 16 times this season.
The 2013 season has been efficient for the senior, as Bell currently holds the top spot on the program single-season lists with a .463 batting average, 19 home runs, 51 runs scored and 128 total bases and is fourth in RBI (41).
Johnson is fifth all-time in walks (90), sits in seventh in doubles (32) and is tied for 13th in RBI (81) while positioning herself within striking distance of hits (148), home runs (15), total bases (227).
On the season, Bell leads with 19, followed by Jones (5), Furuya (4), Johnson (4), Habitz (3), Hatfield (2) and Yao (2) while Taylor Abeyta (San Diego, Calif.) and Liz Presto (Bethlehem, Pa.) have one apiece.
Defensively, Jones has thrown 152.1 of the team's 284.1 (54%) innings from the circle. She has accounted for 12 of the team's 14 wins this season while tossing 11 complete games with a team-best 92 strikeouts. Jones picked up the first save of her career April 24 against Kent State.
WHEN IT'S GOOD...
At the plate in those 14 games, Penn State owns a .336 average with 47 multi-base hits, including 14 home runs.
WALK THE LINE
The Lions drew another five in a 2-1 victory over Kent State Wednesday, including an intentional walk for Bell in the sixth that eventually counted as the winning run.
TO BE THE BEST
Ten finalists will make the May 8 list before the group is narrowed to the three May 22. The winner of the award will be announced in the lead-up to the 2013 NCAA Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City May 28.
QUITE THE SLATE!