Softball On Losing End of 3-0 Decision to Ohio State
COLUMBUS, Ohio; May 7, 2005- Penn State's softball team (34-19, 10-8 Big Ten) dropped the first of two games with Ohio State (31-16, 8-7 Big Ten) this weekend, 3-0, on Saturday evening. The Nittany Lions face the Buckeyes again Sunday in their final game of the regular season.
Despite four hits and several free bases when players were hit by pitches, the Nittany Lions couldn't put it all together and pull out a victory. After an opening inning with two baserunners but no runs, things looked promising again in the top of the second inning when junior outfielder Leigh Murray (Fairfax Station, Va.) reached base on a single to start things off. After a fielder's choice that got Murray and a hit by pitch on Destinie Chavez (San Leandro, Calif.), the Lions had runners on first and second with only one out. A fly ball to the outfield moved freshman Jenn Reynolds (Clovis, Calif.) to third base, but the Lions ran out of outs and left the inning empty handed.
Ohio State would put its first run of the game on the board in the bottom of the third inning. Christina Douglas led off with a double to right centerfield followed by a sacrifice bunt and an RBI single through the right side of the Lions' infield by Nycole Koyano that would score Douglas from third for the 1-0 Buckeye lead.
The Lions had another good chance in the top of the fourth inning when freshman catcher Hollee Haines (Riverside, Calif.) started the offense with a single to rightfield. A sacrifice bunt from Murray got pinch runner Kari Lucas (Centre Hall, Pa.) to second. She moved to third on a throwing error on the next play, but back-to-back outs on that play and the next one would leave a Lion runner on third for the second time in the game.
Koyano's RBI in the third inning would prove to be the game-winner, but OSU added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth. Liz Caputo hit a triple to right centerfield to put the Lions in a dangerous position to start the inning off. A single to rightfield, Douglas' second hit of the day, drove in the Buckeyes' second run of the day. A sacrifice bunt moved Douglas around the basepaths and two plays later she crossed the plate on a Karisa Evans double to rightfield.
Down 3-0, Penn State made one last charge in the top of the seventh inning. Murray, who went 2-2 on the day with a sacrifice bunt, started the Lions again with a single. Chavez also had a hit in the inning, but the Lions couldn't come from behind and eventually took the 3-0 loss to the Buckeyes.
Lion starter Missy Beseres (Golden Valley, Minn.) had one strikeout in 4.2 innings and now falls to 15-11. Reynolds pitched the final 1.1 innings, giving up no runs and tallying no strikeouts. Buckeye pitcher Jamee Juarez improved to 24-11 in a complete game shutout.
Penn State meets Ohio State in its last regular season showdown Sunday, April 8, at 1 p.m. at Buckeye Field. The Nittany Lions will then travel to the Big Ten Tournament next week at either Northwestern or Michigan. The Wolverines beat Northwestern Saturday, 3-0, and now lie only .5 games out of first place, which is currently held by the Wildcats. The winner of their game tomorrow will claim the 2005 Big Ten regular season championship and host the Big Ten Tournament from May 12-14.