Hatfield Walk-Off Home Run Completes Softball’s Sweep of Michigan State
Kasie Hatfield hit a two-run walk-off home run in the ninth inning as the Penn State softball team (11-22, 3-6 Big Ten) completed a sweep of Michigan State (11-26, 0-9 Big Ten) Sunday afternoon at Beard Field.
Michigan State tied the game at 5-5 in the top of the fifth inning, and neither team would score until Hatfield homered in the bottom of the ninth. Michigan State pitcher Carly Nielsen threw over five innings in relief in the loss, only giving up those final two runs.
Penn State starter Marissa Diescher threw just one out into the third inning before being relieved by Lisa Akamine. The freshman right-hander struck out one batter and walked three.
“I just felt like she wasn’t as sharp as she had been yesterday,” Penn State head coach Robin Petrini said of Diescher, referencing her complete game win on Saturday. “And I thought that Lisa might be a little sharper and I didn’t want the game to get out of reach.”
Akamine, a senior, gave up four runs over 6.2 innings pitched to earn her seventh win of the season.
“Lisa came in and gave us a chance by keeping them off the bases going into those extra innings,” said Petrini. “Their lineup is really tough and Michigan State is always known for their hitting and she was able to keep them at bay until we were able to score.”
The deciding bottom of the ninth inning began with first baseman Kailyn Johnson lining a shot to left field. Michigan State left fielder Lori Padilla robbed Johnson with a snow-cone grab against the wall, recording the first out for the Nittany Lions. Second baseman Lauren Yao then get her first hit in five at bats, lining a single off the left center field wall.
With Yao on first, the catcher Hatfield stepped in to face Nielsen. Hatfield would then hit the game-winning home run, a 250-foot shot over the left center field wall, giving her team the win and the sweep.
"I was just telling myself I could do it," Hatfield said. "I've been hitting well in practice all week and I've been hitting well this weekend. I didn't need to get [a home run]. I just told myself to hit the ball hard, and that's the outcome I got."
Penn State laid the foundation for its win in the second inning, when it scored four runs. Designated player Ellen McNair got things started, knocking in Hatfield with an RBI single. Starting pitcher Cassee Layne would later hit center fielder Cassidy Bell with a pitch with the bases loaded, giving Bell an RBI. Pinch hitter Morgan Long would also walk in a run, and then right fielder Alyssa Sovereign singled in McNair, giving Penn State the 4-0 lead.
"I think we're more confident now," said Petrini. "We're scoring runs, more than just one or two, and our pitchers are giving us a chance. We've always played pretty solid defense. If you have two out of those or all three of them, you're going to win a lot of games."
Michigan State would tie things up in the fourth inning, thanks to a two-run hit by Kylene Hopkins. After Penn State scratched out a run in the bottom of the fourth, Stephanie Sanders would tie it again with a sacrifice fly in the top of the fifth
The Nittany Lions were ultimately able to get it done in the clutch, who was glad her sophomore catcher could close out the sweep in style.
"Kasie, when she is confident herself, can do that all the time," Petrini said. "She felt pretty good going into today's game because she had a good weekend, so it showed."
The Nittany Lions will host Temple for a double header on Wednesday as part of an eleven game home stretch. Those games will be broadcast live on ComRadio, starting with the first game at 3 p.m.
Jeremy Kahn is a junior majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism, Political Science and Business (Minors)
I am a Broadcast Journalism major at Penn State University due to graduate in May 2013. In addition to my major I am also working toward a double minor in Political Science and Business.
I currently report, anchor, and produce for the Centre County Report as part of the College of Communications at Penn State University. I am the executive producer for the Spring of 2013.
I have worked in both radio and television at the collegiate and professional levels.I have had the opportunity to intern with WABC-TV, CBS Radio and CBS News in New York City working as part of Eyewitness News, The Early Show on CBS and Chat About It for CBSNewYork.com. During the Penn State Sandusky scandal I assisted producers from ABC News and WABC onsite in Bellefonte. I have also been a a high school football reporter for WQWK 1450 ESPN State College and a videographer at the local government channel CNET.
I have been a part of the Big Ten Network’s Student U broadcasting program for soccer, volleyball, and softball. For the past two years I have been calling Penn State softball games for 1390 WRSC-AM.
In my time at Penn State’s student radio station ComRadio, I have had the privilege of doing play-by-play for multiple Penn State sports including football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, softball, hockey and men’s and women’s soccer. Furthermore, I have experience producing multiple sports for ComRadio. In addition to sports, I am also heavily involved in the news department where I produce weekly as well as anchor and report.
My goal is to work as a television anchor or reporter for a major television news organization.