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Dec. 4, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State softball program has released a challenging schedule for the 2014 campaign, first year head coach Amanda Lehotak announced on Wednesday. The Nittany Lions will take on 30 opponents in 50 games, including ten teams that made the NCAA Tournament last season. PSU hosts 16 contests at Beard Field and Nittany Lion Softball Park with 12 against Big Ten foes.
The 2014 slate features two 2013 College World Series qualifiers and five opponents that ranked in the final 2012 NFCA Top 25 poll for a total of nine games. The Nittany Lions will host Michigan (6th) for three games, face Kentucky (11th) and LSU (18th) twice and take on Arizona State (7th) and Baylor (20th) once each.
The Blue and White kick off the 2014 campaign with a trip to Phoenix, Ariz. to compete in the three-day Kajikawa Classic hosted by Arizona State from Feb. 7-9. The Lions open tournament play against Oregon State and will also face Appalachian State, Bradley, the hosting Sun Devils and Seattle University before traveling to Baton Rouge, La. for LSU's Tiger Invitational from Feb. 14-16. Along with the Tigers, PSU will meet Northwestern and George Washington at Tiger Park.
The Lions continue their trip through the southern states with a visit to Boca Raton, Fla. for the Florida Atlantic Invitational from Feb. 21-23. Penn State is set to matchup against Kentucky, local rival Pitt and the hosting Owls, meeting KU and FAU twice and Pitt once.
The Blue and White return to the Northeast on March 1-2 to participate in the James Madison Invitational in Harrisonburg, Va. where they will take on Kent State, Dartmouth, Fairfield and JMU.
After a weekend off, Penn State heads back to Florida for the USF Spring Break Tournament, hosted by Southern Florida in Clearwater from March 14-15. The Nittany Lions close out the tournament season with games against Rutgers, Central Connecticut State, Wagner, Yale and Baylor.
The squad's home opener will mark the beginning of the conference season as well with the Lions set to host Purdue for a three-game series from March 21-23. PSU continues its home slate the next weekend, hosting Big Ten powerhouse Michigan from March 28-30. The Blue and White close out a seven game home stand on April 2, facing instate foe St. Francis in a midweek matchup.
PSU hits the road for two three-game series at Michigan State and Indiana before returning home for four games. The Lions kick off the home stand with a mid-week double header against Bucknell on April 16 before hosting Wisconsin that weekend.
Penn State travels to Columbus, Ohio to match up against Ohio State on Wednesday, April 23 before closing out the regular season road slate at Minnesota the following weekend. The Nittany Lions will finish the regular season at home, hosting Pitt for a mid-week game before taking on Illinois in a three-game series from May 2-4.
Northwestern will host the Big Ten Tournament in Evanston, Ill. from May 8-11 and the NCAA Regionals are set for May 16-18.
The Nittany Lions are led by four seniors this season, including outfielder Alyssa Sovereign (La Canada, Calif.), catcher/third baseman Kasie Hatfield (Tampa, Fla.), catcher Liz Presto (Bethlehem, Pa.) and pitcher/infielder Jordan Wheatley (Troy, Mich.). Penn State also returns eight players who registered 30 or more starts in 2013.