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May 10, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Nittany Lion softball team concludes the 2012 season at home by hosting Big Ten rival Ohio State at Beard Field on Friday and Saturday. The Friday doubleheader begins at 4:00 p.m. with the opener shown live on the Big Ten Network. The Saturday finale is slated for 1:00 p.m. as Penn State celebrates Senior Day and Mother's Day at Nittany Lion Softball Park. All three games will air live on 1390 AM WRSC in State College with streaming audio through GoPSUsports.com. Saturday's game will have streaming video coverage on BTN.com as well.
PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS (17-30, 8-13 Big Ten)
Games 48-50: May 11-12 Nittany Lion Softball Park University Park, Pa.
Friday: Penn State will be giving out 200 Nittany Lion softball hats to fans and PSU football's Gerald Hodges will throw out the first pitch. Hodges will be leading Penn State's chapter of Uplifting Athletes. PSU's chapter raises money for awareness and funs for the Kidney Cancer Association, raising nearly $600,000 since 2002. The Lift for Life event is scheduled for July 13, 2012 at Holuba Hall.
Saturday: The Nittany Lions will celebrate Senior Day as the five seniors--Lisa Akamine, Danee Collett, Morgan Long, Ellen McNair and Ashley Todd--will be honored prior to the first pitch thrown out by head football coach Bill O'Brien. Penn State will be giving out flowers to the first 50 mothers that walk through the Nittany Lion Softball Park gates in honor of Mother's Day. Also, pink wristbands will also be given out as PSU celebrates Pitch for Pink, a breast cancer awareness event.
For all three games, Penn State will be having a ticket exchange between softball and baseball games. All ticket stubs bought at softball can be used for free entry at baseball and visa versa. The ticket stubs can be used any day.
VENUE: Nittany Lion Softball Park (1,084)
RADIO: 1390 AM WRSC/GoPSUsports.com
TELEVISION: Big Ten Network (Game One)
ONLINE: BTN.com (Game Three)
ALL-TIME SERIES: Penn State trails 40-28
LAST MEETING: 5/11/11, PSU 4-3 (9 inn.)
Nittany Lions close out the 2012 season by hosting rival Ohio State
Nittany Lions celebrate Senior Day on Saturday, honoring Lisa Akamine, Danee Collett, Morgan Long, Ellen McNair and Ashley Todd.
Penn State took both games from OSU in Columbus last year for the first time
During Big Ten play, Cassidy Bell leads in home runs (6) and total bases (51)
Lions return from series sweep at Illinois, dropping all games by 3 runs or less
PSU are 9-2 at home, improving to 20-10-1 all-time at Beard Field
Thirteen of Penn State's 20 wins at Beard Field have been comeback victories
Penn State has struck 10 leadoff homers this season
SENIOR SEND OFF
Penn State will honor its five seniors on Saturday as the quintent of Lisa Akamine, Danee Collett, Morgan Long, Ellen McNair and Ashley Todd play their final games in Happy Valley. The Senior Day ceremony will begin at 12:50 p.m.
SCOUTING THE BUCKEYES
Ohio State (29-22, 8-12 Big Ten) salvaged the final game of a three-game set against Iowa last week, sitting a half-game ahead of Penn State in the Big Ten standings. OSU has lost four of its past five games overall as well as four of its last five games on the road. Ohio State is batting .281 with 36 home runs and 56 doubles this season. Senior shortstop Alicia Herron is the power bat accounting for 13 home runs with a .374 average while slugging .779 and getting on base at .552. Herron also leads the team in stolen bases (12) and errors (26). In the circle, senior Mikayla Endicott has seen the majority of the innings (187) with a 2.58 ERA and a 17-13 record. Endicott has a .239 average against, while striking out 178 batters. Melanie Nichols (11-9, 3.60 ERA) has been returning from injury this season throwing 112.2 innings with 74 strikeouts and a .309 average against.
SERIES HISTORY vs. OSU
All-Time Series: PSU trails 40-28
PSU Streak: 2 wins
First Meeting: 5/7/76, OSU 8-7
Last Meeting: 5/11/11, PSU 4-3 (9)
Last PSU Win: 5/11/11, 4-3 (9)
Last OSU Win: 5/9/10, 5-0
Largest PSU Win: 10-2, 5/11/11
Largest OSU Win: 12-3 (`81, `96)
Penn State swept the Buckeyes in Columbus for the first time in program history taking 10-2 and 4-3 decisions. PSU dominated the opener with the largest win in series history, pounding out 12 hits including three by Lauren Yao. Cassidy Bell homered and Kailyn Johnson went 2-for-3 to pace PSU. The nightcap was a different story as OSU held a 3-1 lead after three innings with Penn State pulling even after five. The Lions scored the winning run in the top of the ninth as Alyssa Sovereign lofted a sacrifice fly to leftfield to score Shannon Hutchinson.
Last 11 Meetings
5/11/11: W, 4-3 (9 inn.) - A
5/11/11: W, 10-2 - A
5/9/10: L, 0-5 - H
5/8/10: L, 1-3 - H
5/9/09: L, 0-2 - A
5/9/09: L, 0-6 - A
4/20/08: L, 3-4 - A
4/20/08: W, 3-2 (11 inn.) - A
5/10/07: L 2-10 (5 inn.) - A
5/6/07: L, 0-4 - A
5/5/07: L, 2-4 - A
SHORTHANDED LIONS FALL AT ILLINOIS
Penn State ran into a good Illinois team and some bad luck in a series sweep at the Fighting Illini last weekend (May 5-6). Despite getting swept, Penn State had a chance to take every game despite having at least two starters out in all its games. As Penn State was trying to score in the first inning of the opener, Alyssa Renwick and Kasie Hatfield succumbed to injuries. The Lions allowed four runs in the opening frame and fought back to 4-2, leaving two runners on base in the seventh to fall short in its comeback bid. Cassidy Bell scored both runs while moving to shortstop in place of Renwick, going 2-for-3. Alicia Walker hit a sacrifice fly to drive her home, notching the freshman's first RBI. Game two was more of the same as Illinois stormed out to a 6-0 lead after two innings. Penn State got two back in the third and another in the fourth to cut the lead in half. Walker added another sacrifice fly and Liz Presto hit her first collegiate home run to highlight the comeback. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough as PSU fell 6-3 in the Saturday doubleheader sweep. On Sunday morning, Penn State looked to spoil Illinois' Senior Day. Again the Illini earned a first inning lead, this time 2-0. The Lions cut it in half when Bell scored on a throwing error in the third and Alyssa Sovereign drove home Walker in the top of the sixth to tie it. Two errors in the field coupled with two singles managed to give Illinois the 3-2 walk-off win and earn the series sweep. Bell led the way offensively going 4-for-8 with three runs scored and two doubles.
HOME SWEET HOME
Penn State is 9-2 at home this season, winning the nine of the last 10 games. Last season the Nittany Lions went 11-8-1 in the inaugural year at Beard Field and Nittany Lion Softball Park, meaning PSU is 20-10-1 all-time. In all non-conference games, Penn State is 7-5 at Beard Field with a 13-5 mark in Big Ten play. Another home field advantage has been comeback victories. Thirteen of the 20 wins at Beard Field have been in comeback fashion with six walk-off victories all-time, four of which have been in extra innings.
FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS
Junior centerfielder Cassidy Bell sat out 18 games from February until her return on Mar. 24 at Michigan due to an emergency appendectomy. Since her return, Bell has been on fire and one of the most consistent hitters in the country, tallying nine multi-hit games in the last 24 outings. Currently, she's hitting .407 overall, having posted a hit in 24 of the 29 games she's played.
Her return saw an 0-for-3 showing at Michigan, but since then she has gone 32-for-70 (.457) at the plate with nine home runs, four doubles and a triple. In the series at Purdue, Bell hit .636 (7-for-11), before going 4-for-12 against Michigan State (.333). On Apr. 25 against Kent State, the Golden Flashes were unable to retire Bell as she went 4-for-4 with two home runs, four runs batted in, four runs scored and three walks.
She has raised her career average to .323 during the 24-game hitting barrage, which has seen her reach base in all but one game. She wrapped up an eight-game hitting streak at Wisconsin, but is now on an eight-hit tear. In the last 24 games she is slugging .929 and getting on base at .573, drawing 16 walks. In Big Ten play alone, she leads all conference players in total bases (51) and tied for first in homers (6), while ranking third in slugging (.797), fourth in on-base percentage (.526), tied-fourth in hits (27) and sixth in average (.422).
LEAD ME HOME
The Nittany Lions have used the leadoff home run to their advantage this year, belting 10 such dingers this season. Cassidy Bell has accounted for five leadoff homers including two against Kent State on Wednesday, Apr. 25. Alyssa Sovereign has posted three of her own, all opeining the game on Spring Break, with Kailyn Johnson (3/16 vs. Oklahoma) and Jordan Wheatley (4/25 vs. Kent State) adding homers to lead off innings. More notes can be found in the PDF copy.