March 28, 2008
Big Ten Network ~ Free Purdue Boilermakers Video
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Boilermaker softball team extended its win streak to five games with a 5-4 home- and Big Ten opening victory over Penn State on Friday afternoon. Purdue ended the back-and-forth contest with a bases-loaded fielder's choice in the bottom of the seventh.
The Boilermakers scored five runs on seven hits and an error, while allowing the Nittany Lions four runs on five hits and two miscues. Juniors Katie Mitchell and Kelly Miller eached tallied two hits in the contest.
Freshman Suzie Rzegocki (9-3) struck out eight Penn State batters in her Big Ten debut en route to the complete-game victory. Ashley Esparza dropped to 10-6 on the season with the loss.
PSU used a pair of first inning doubles to jump on the scoreboard.
The Boilermakers countered with two runs on two hits in the bottom of the inning. Mitchell led off with a double to right center, then scored as sophomore Kelsey Haupert ripped a two-out home run over the right field wall.
Miller extended her hitting streak to 12 games with a third-inning single, but a double play kept the Boilermakers from capitalizing on the hit.
The Nittany Lions tied it up as sent a two-out double into left center, scoring Desi Gioradno, who had walked to lead off the inning.
Penn State took the lead with an unearned run in the fifth. A fielding error by the third baseman, a walk and a fielder's choice gave PSU runners at the corners with two outs. Giordano then singled through the right side to make it 3-2 Nittany Lions. A walk loaded the bases, but Rzegocki came through with a strikeout to prevent further damage.
Purdue responded yet again with two runs on two hits in the bottom of the stanza. Freshman Beth Cinadr led off with a double to left center. Junior Christina Trauger walked, then the two moved into scoring position on a sacrifice. Mitchell walked to fill the bases for senior Ashley Hall, who delivered with a single through the right side, plating two runs and pushing her hit streak to 12 games. Hall and Mitchell stole second and third respectively. Junior Candace Curtis walked to load the bases, but a ground ball to short kept Purdue from adding to its lead.
Another Boilermaker miscue in the sixth helped Penn State tie the game at 4-4. A fielding error by the second baseman gave the Nittany Lions a base runner. A sacrifice pushed her to second with two outs. Esparza tallied an RBI single to knot the score.
PSU gifted Purdue an error in the sixth, but the Boilermakers were unable to make the Nittany Lions pay. Penn State returned the favor, giving Purdue a pass in the top of the seventh despite drawing a leadoff walk.
Miller got things started for Purdue in the seventh with a bunt single. Mitchell followed with a single to the shortstop. Hall sacrificed the two into scoring position, opening first abse for Curtis, who was intentionally walked. Haupert hit a grounder to the second baseman, who went for the force out at home, but was unable to stop the Boilermaker score as Miller slid in safely underneath the tag to seal the win.
The Boilermakers (22-8, 1-0 Big Ten) return to action at noon Saturday, when they face Penn State in Game 2 of the series.