Softball Tops Kent State in Rain Soaked Affair

Story posted April 24, 2013 in Sports, CommRadio by Megan Flood

The Penn State softball team beat Kent State, 2-1, on a windy and rain delayed Wednesday afternoon at Beard Field at University Park.

Penn State jumped ahead after a leadoff home run by senior outfielder Cassidy Bell. She used the wind to her advantage to take it out past the left field fence, past the 200-foot mark.

The Nittany Lions' head coach Robin Petrini said it was a big boost for the team to start with the home run.

With the win, Penn State moves to 12-30 on the season while Kent State goes to 22-17-1. The win snapped a four-game losing skid for the Nittany Lions.

Junior right hand pitcher Jordan Wheatley won the contest for the Nittany Lions, while Kent State’s right-hander Emma Johnson took the loss. Johnson ended the night with nine strikeouts and four walks. Two of those walks were intentional to Bell. Wheatley had two strikeouts and two walks. Freshman left hander, Macy Jones came in at the top of the seventh to get her first save.

Petrini said when she told Jones that she got her first save, Jones said “Wahoo!”

Penn State was able to hold onto the one run lead for three innings until Kent State scored a run in the top of the fifth inning.

With two outs in the fifth, Kent State junior outfielder Jessacca Gironda singled to shortstop. On the next pitch she stole second. Lauren Kesterson was able to single up the middle between Penn State’s shortstop Reina Furuya and second baseman Alyssa Renwick. As Bell tried to play the ball she bobbled and kicked it with her feet, allowing Gironda to score. It was reordered as an unearned run for Kent State.

The game had a two-hour rain delay as a heavy rainstorm hit Happy Valley.

Bell said the team did different types of activities during the break.

“Some of us did homework, some watched TV or played ping pong. For the most part we tried to stay loose,” she said. 

Petrini was a little worried for the rain delay and didn’t let the team go in the team room until it actually started to rain. The came was called for lightening in the beginning of the delay.

“I told them coming out of the delay to refocus and to get the win,” Petrini said.

It is always hard to come out of a stoppage of play, especially for a pitcher. Petrini said she did have a plan for what would happen if Kent State did start getting hits and base runners on Wheatley.

 “It is hardest for pitchers because you have to go through a full warm-up again, so it was like Jordan played a game and half because of the warm-ups,” she said. 

Wheatley was able to retire the topside of the sixth inning one, two, three without a problem. This allowed Penn State to take the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Bell led off the effort, but was intentionally walked for the second time. Bell said she sees an intentional walk as a compliment that allows other people to get the hit.

Kent State then had a throwing error down to second base in anticipation for Bell’s steal. The ball ended up in shallow centerfield on an over throw and Bell advanced to second base. Jones then singled up the middle allowing Bell to score on an uncontested slide into home plate.

The Nittany Lions were able to get two more runners on base but left them stranded.

Petrini said she was never going to signal for Bell to steal because it was Penn State’s “only commodity” to score the winning run.

Petrini said that Bell has excellent base running instincts so she was okay when Bell took second on the over throw.

Wheatley came in to pitch the first out in the top of the seventh, but Jones came in to get  the save and last two outs for Penn State.

The Nittany Lions’ next game is against Iowa on Friday at 7 p.m. The team travels to Iowa City for a weekend series.

Megan Flood is a sophomore majoring in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Recreation Park Tourism Management. To contact her, email mkf5100@psu.edu.