Game Notes 7: Valparaiso, Penn State

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM The Boilermakers (18-9) take a three-game win streak into this week's action.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
The Boilermakers (18-9) take a three-game win streak into this week's action.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

March 28, 2012

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -

The Slate
Thursday, March 29 - 5 p.m. ET at Valparaiso
Radio: WSHY 1410 AM, purduesports.com
Live Stats: purduesports.com

Saturday, March 31 - 1 p.m. vs. Penn State (DH)
Radio: WSHY 1410 AM, purduesports.com
Live Stats: purduesports.com
Promotion: Boys/Girls Club, Hanna House, Big Brothers/Big Sisters Day

Sunday, April 1 - 1 p.m. vs. Penn State
Radio: WSHY 1410 AM, purduesports.com
Live Stats: purduesports.com
Promotion: Youth Team Day

The Book on the Boilermakers
At First Glance: A Purdue squad (18-9, 3-0 Big Ten) featuring 12 returning players and seven newcomers is set for a Thursday meeting with Valparaiso before returning to conference action against Penn State this weekend. Eight position starters and three starting pitchers return from the 2011 squad which finished 30-18-2 and fifth in the Big Ten. The Boilermakers are coached by Kim Maher, who is her seventh year with the team.

Last Time Out: The Boilermakers went 3-0 last weekend sweeping the series with Michigan State to open home and Big Ten play. Purdue took Saturday's doubleheader 10-6 and 8-4 and won 2-0 on Sunday. The 3-0 conference start is the best in program history.

Statistically Speaking: The Boilermakers boast a .333 team batting average, including seven batters hitting at a .300 or better clip. Outfielder Lindsey Rains (.407) and outfielder Andie Varsho (.402) lead the way. Rains boasts a team-best 20 RBI and 24 runs as well as 15 stolen bases and two home runs. Varsho has scored 20 runs, posted 19 RBI and stolen 10 bases. Infielder Ashley Courtney (.371), shortstop Molly Garst (.356), third baseman Tori Chiodo (.344), catcher Danielle Fletcher (.342) and second baseman Ashley Burkhardt (.322) also are batting over .300. Garst has scored 20 runs and stolen a team-best 16 bases. Fletcher has launched three home runs and scored 20 runs, while four other players have posted two home runs: Rains, Courtney, Chiodo and utility player Erika Petruzzi (.284). All told, Purdue is averaging nearly six runs per game with 61 extra base hits and 63 steals, while also drawing 103 walks.

Freshman Lexy Moore (12-2) leads the way in the circle, striking out 62 batters in 89 innings and posting a 2.66 ERA. Freshman Alex Whittemore (2-3) has struck out 20 in 31 innings. Senior Katie Hackney (3-2) has issued 19 Ks in 27 innings, while junior Erika Petruzzi (1-2) has struck out 10 in 21 innings.

Series Information
Valparaiso (Purdue leads 21-5-2): The Boilermakers won the first 14 meetings in the series with the Crusaders, which began on March 29, 1994. Valpairaso won Game 1 of the March 24, 2004, doubleheader, but Purdue rebounded with a pair of wins. Since then, it has been a mixed bag featuring five Purdue wins, four by the Crusaders and two ties. The Boilermakers had won three straight until the second game of the April 7, 2011, doubleheader, which the teams tied 4-4 due to darkness.

Penn State (PSU leads 22-17-1): Penn State won the first three contests in the series with the Boilermakers, which began on April 22, 1995. Purdue countered with five straight wins, but the Nittany Lions answered with nine straight victories from April 6, 1997 to May 11, 2000. The teams split the next eight games. PSU won four straight from 2004 to 2006, but the Boilermakers narrowed the gap with eight straight from 2006 to 2010. Penn State ended the stretch with a pair of wins. The teams tied the last contests 0-0 in eight innings in State College last season. Purdue is 8-4 at home vs. PSU.

What a Difference a Win Makes ...
If the Boilermakers top Valparaiso on Thursday...

• They will move to 19-9 on the season and extend their current win streak to four games.

• They will have won four of the last five games against the Crusaders, save a tie in the last meeting.

• They will move to 240-154-2 all-time in the month of March, including an 8-6 mark on March 29.

Chatting About The Crusaders
At First Glance: The Valparaiso Crusaders (17-9, 3-0 Horizon) bring a five-game win streak into Thursday's contest. The Crusaders return 15 letterwinners, including 10 starters from the 2011 team which posted a 34-24-1 mark and finished second in the Horizon League. Valpo is coached by Jordan Stevens, who is in his second year with the team.

Last Time Out: The Crusaders went 5-0 last week, sweeping a doubleheader with IUPUI and taking a three-game set on the road at Detroit.

Statistically Speaking: Catcher Jordan Rutkowski paces the Crusader bats with a .469 average, including a team-leading 34 RBI, 23 runs and nine home runs. The senior also boasts nine doubles and five stolen bases. Six other players are batting .300 or better. Second baseman Jessie Marinec (.403), designated player Brittany Duncan (.370), third baseman Joylyn Ichiyama-Drewry (.329), first baseman Kelsey Phalen (.320), outfielder Amanda Wisniewksi (.308) and outfielder Sara Strickland (.303) make up the group. Marinec has scored 22 runs, while also posting four home runs, while Duncan has driven in 21 RBI with four homers. Ichiyama-Drewry and Wisniewski each have launched five home runs, while Strickland has swiped a team-best seven bases. As a team, Valparaiso is batting .318 with 29 home runs and 29 stolen bases.

Senior Alex Lagesse (8-5) leads a trio of Crusader pitchers with a 2.40 ERA and 58 strikeouts in 84 innings of work. Senior Sam McGee (7-2) has added 40 Ks in 62 innings, while senior Shaleigh Jansen (2-1) has struck out 12 in 24 innings and picked up a save.

News About The Nittany Lions
At First Glance: The Penn State Nittany Lions (7-18, 0-3 Big Ten) are looking to snap a nine-game losing streak when they face Purdue this weekend. PSU returns 15 letterwinners, including nine starters from the 2011 team which posted a 31-24-1 mark, finished fourth in the Big Ten and advanced to the postseason. Penn State is coached by Robin Petrini, who is in her 16th year with the team.

Last Time Out: The Nittany Lions dropped three games to No. 20 Michigan to open conference play last weekend. PSU fell 11-2, 12-4 and 6-0 to the Wolverines. Penn State's last win came on March 9.

Statistically Speaking: Shortstop Alyssa Renwick leads the PSU bats with a .293 average, including nine runs and five RBI. Second baseman Lauren Yao (.250), first baseman Kailyn Johnson (.236), outfielder Alyssa Sovereign (.221) and third baseman Kasie Hatfield (.217) follow. Outfielder Cassidy Bell has hit at a .273 clip in just seven games of action. Sovereign has scored a team-best 14 runs and driven in a team-leading eight RBI along with Hatfield. Sovereign also has three home runs to her credit, while Johnson has added two long balls. Outfielder Shannon Hutchinson (.190) leads the team on the basepaths with seven steals. As a team, PSU is batting .220 with seven home runs and 11 steals.

Senior Lisa Akamine (5-12) has done the bulk of the pitching for the Nittany Lions, striking out 88 batters in 97 innings, while tossing nine complete games. Freshman Marissa Diescher (2-5) has issued 16 Ks in 42 innings and thrown three complete games. Sophomore Jordan Wheatley (0-1) has managed 15 strikeouts in 27 innings. The staff has allowed opponents to hit at a .295 clip.

Among The Nation's Statistical Leaders
The Boilermakers rank among the national top 50 in seven statistical categories. The team is seventh in stolen bases per game (2.33), 16th in batting average (.333), 19th in doubles per game (1.48), 26th in scoring (5.89 runs per game), 34th in slugging percentage (.463), 36th in double plays per game (0.41) and 39th in triples per game (0.26).

Individually, sophomore outfielder Lindsey Rains ranks 20th in triples (3), 28th in triples per game (0.11) and 39th in stolen bases per game (0.56). Senior shortstop Molly Garst ranks 28th in stolen bases per game (0.59). Freshman pitcher Lexy Moore ranks 30th in walks allowed per seven innings (1.25) and 34th in wins (12).

Impacting The Record Books
Junior second baseman Ashley Courtney tied the game record for walks with three in the season opener with Bryant. She matched the feat against UT-Martin, Feb. 24. The latter three-walk effort was the 19th in program history.

Senior shortstop Molly Garst tied two game records at the Frost Classic, posting five hits against Troy and swiping three bases against Niagara. The five-hit tally matched Angi Roembke's 5-for-5 effort against Indiana in 2002. The steals tally tied the record which has been achieved 20 times in program history, including seven times by Garst. Garst also adds to her career record stolen base tally with each steal. She has 16 steals in 2012, moving the record number to 118.

Sophomore outfielder Lindsey Rains tied the record for steals in a game with three against South Alabama.

The Boilermakers posted a record-tying 18 hits against Troy, matching the mark which has been achieved four times prior, last against IUPUI in 2011. Purdue posted a game-record tying three triples against Niagara, matching the output from the March 6, 1994, game vs. UNC-Wilmington. The Boilermakers earned a record-tying nine walks against UT-Martin on March 24, matching a mark achieved three previous times, once in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Garst has scored 124 times, matching Shahara "Skeeter" Nixon's fifth-place spot of 124 (1997-2000) on the career runs list.The senior has tallied 203 hits, just eight out of 5th place on that career listing. She also has tallied nine triples, just one shy of the fourth-place mark of 10, which has been achieved by four different players.

Win #200
Head coach Kim Maher earned her 200th victory as leader of the Purdue program when the team posted an 8-6 victory over Cal State Fullerton, March 14. The Boilermakers have registered six-straight non-losing seasons under Maher, including two NCAA Tournament berths. Maher recorded her 100th win against Pacific on Feb. 8, 2009.

All Tied Up
Ties don't happen often in sports, but the Boilermaker softball program has six of them to its credit in program history, including two in 2011. The most recent of the non-decisions came on May 1, 2011, against Penn State, when the teams dueled to a 0-0 tie after eight innings. The Boilermakers also tallied a tie in Game 2 of the team's April 7 doubleheader with Valparaiso, a team which Purdue also tied in 2005.