Five Nittany Lion Softball Players Receive All-Big Ten Honors
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - May 11, 2004 - The Big Ten Conference has announced the 2006 All-Big Ten team, as five Nittany Lions receive first, second and third team honors. The last time Penn State has seen more than five players selected was in 2001 when three players were selected to the second team and three to the third team. This selection marks the first time that each team includes a Penn State player.
Picking up first-team honors was sophomore pitcher and first baseman Jenn Reynolds (Clovis, Calif.). Reynolds is batting .263 on the season, including a .298 mark vs. Big Ten opponents. The California native leads the team in home runs (5) with Hollee Haines (Riverside, Calif.) with four of five coming vs. Big Ten teams. Reynolds also ties with teammate Missy Beseres (Golden Valley, Minn.) for a team-best 1.13 ERA, including a team-best 1.40 ERA in Big Ten play. The sophomore is 9-3 on the season when in the circle, having pitched a total of 80.1 innings.
Junior Jen Williams (Stillwater, Okla.) and freshman Danielle Kinley (Carlsbad, Calif.) received second-team All-Big Ten honors. Williams is batting .305 on the season, including a .306 average vs. conference opponents, and leads the team in hits with 47. She also leads the team in stolen bases with 13 and in triples with two. This marks the second time the outfielder/designated player has received second-team accolades, having also received the honor in 2004.
Kinley is batting .302 on the season, including a team-best .354 in Big Ten games. The freshman also leads the team in RBIs when facing conference opponents with 11 and has tallied three game-winning RBIs, two of which were in Big Ten play, including a three-run homerun in the bottom of the seventh at Wisconsin to give the Nittany Lions an important 3-1 victory. The outfielder is also errorless on the season.
Receiving third-team honors was sophomore Ashley Esparza (San Pedro, Calif.) and red-shirt senior pitcher Missy Beseres. Esparza leads the team in overall batting average with a .321 mark. The first baseman/pitcher has tallied 42 hits on the season including four doubles and three homeruns. In Big Ten play, the sophomore is second in batting average with a .314 mark and leads the team in runs scored with eight. Esparza was selected for All-Big Ten honors for the second consecutive year, as she received first-team accolades last season (2005).
Beseres has recorded 223 strikeouts this season in 179.2 innings of work for the Nittany Lions. The red-shirt senior became Penn State¡¯s all-time leader for career wins passing Jaci Kalp¡¯s record of 49 on April 22 with a win over Michigan State. Beseres currently has 53 wins, and holds a season record of 19-7 including a 7-5 mark vs. Big Ten opponents. The Minnesota native was a second-team All-Great Lakes Region selection last season and also garnered third-team. She holds the single-game record for strikeouts, 15, set last year vs. Northwestern, and has pitched two perfect games in her career. This season saw Beseres receive Big Ten Pitcher of the Week accolades (Feb. 28) for the second time in her collegiate career.
After beating the Buckeyes 4-2, 1-0 over the weekend to improve to the No. 5 seed for the Big Ten Tournament, Penn State (37-14, 10-10 Big Ten) must beat No. 4 seed Ohio State (37-20, 11-7 Big Ten) again at 5:30 p.m. ET on Friday to reach the Big Ten semifinals. If they beat the Buckeyes, the Lions would meet the winner of the No. 1 Northwestern vs. No. 8 Illinois contest that will be held on Friday, May 11 due to rain in the area on Thursday. The Big Ten Tournament is being hosted by the conference champion Wildcats with the championship game set to take place on Saturday, May 13.