Lions to Open Big Ten Tournament with Buckeyes
EVANSTON, Ill.; May 7, 2014 - Penn State softball opens the 2014 postseason on Thursday in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament, hosted by Northwestern. The 10th-seeded Nittany Lions are set to take on seventh-seeded Ohio State in a 2:30 p.m. (ET) matchup.
Thursday’s game will be streamed live on the Big Ten Digital Network with Tommy Thiel and Julie Dunn on the call. If Penn State wins, the Lions will advance to take on second-seeded Nebraska on Friday at 2:30 p.m.
A PENN STATE SUMMARY
Sophomore Lexi Knief leads the Nittany Lions’ offensive attack with a batting average of .382. The outfielder is 58-for-152 at the plate with 37 runs scored, 12 RBI, six triples and seven doubles. Freshman Shelby Miller (.316), senior Kasie Hatfield (.309) and sophomore Karlie Habitz (.301) are also hitting well for the Blue and White.
Freshman Marlaina Laubach is the top pitcher for Penn State. The rookie hurler owns a 9-17 record with a 3.55 ERA and has struck out 74 opponents.
SERIES HISTORY vs. OHIO STATE
The Lions and the Buckeyes last met on neutral ground in the 2006 Big Ten Tournament, which was also held at Northwestern, as Ohio State claimed a 9-6 victory over PSU.
Penn State dropped a doubleheader at OSU earlier this season, falling 3-1 and 3-0 in Columbus on April 23.
CRACKING THE BUCKEYES
Senior Evelyn Carrillo has set the pace for the OSU offense. Carrillo leads the team in hits with 62, has driven in 34 runs while scoring 20 and is hitting at a .380 clip.
The OSU pitching staff has combined for 241 strikeouts this season and owns an ERA of 3.91. Olivia O’Reilly and Shelby Hursh lead Ohio State in the circle. O’Reilly has an ERA of 3.01 through 146.1 innings, has struck out 87 opponents and it 15-8 on the year. Hursh leads the Big Ten in saves with seven and has doled out 86 strikeouts in 87.2 innings.
The sophomore has hit at a clip of .382 in 2014, which stands as the eighth best in a single season in program history. She also leads the team in runs (37), hits (58), triples (6), total bases (80), slugging percentage (.526) and on base percentage (.457). The centerfielder totaled 17 multi-hit performances and, at one point, extended her hitting streak to 12 straight games.
Knief, who moved to center field in the off-season, has been tremendous for the Lions defensively, posting a perfect fielding percentage of 1.000. She has recorded 69 putouts and five assists on the year without committing a single error.
The Lions trailed the Wildcats until posting five triples in the doubleheader vs. Bucknell (4/16).
Lexi Knief has set the pace for PSU, turning in six triple thus far. She needs just one more to enter the Penn State single season record books.
The Tampa, Fla. product is also tied for 6th in the Big Ten in doubles.
LAU OF THE LAND
Laubach gave one of her best performances of the season in the series opener at No. 12 Minneosta, holding the Golden Gophers to just four hits while not allowing a single earned run through six innings.
FORMING GOOD HABITZ
She has registered eight doubles and a team-best four home runs. Habitz also posted six RBI in the season opener vs. Oregon State (2/7), a mark that ties for the second most in program history.