Big Inning Lifts Penn St. Past Softball, 5-3

LSU's Ashley Langoni
LSU's Ashley Langoni
Steve Franz
Matt Dunaway
Matt Dunaway

BATON ROUGE - The No. 22 LSU softball team dropped a 5-3 decision to Penn State in its 2012 season opener Friday evening at Tiger Park in-front of 1,073 fans to conclude day one of the Tiger Classic.

Playing its first game under the direction of first-year coach Beth Torina, LSU jumped out to a 1-0 advantage during the second inning. The Tigers pieced together a trio of walks from Tammy Wray, Allison Falcon and Juliana Santos along with a Simone Heyward hit-batter. Santos' base on balls came on four pitches to score the run. 

Brittany Mack garnered 13 strikeouts, a career-best for a seven-inning contest. It also was one shy of her career high which came in last season's 14-inning victory over then No. 1 Alabama on April 8. The Round Rock, Texas native fanned nine batters before running into trouble in the fifth inning.

"It was great," head coach Beth Torina said. "The atmosphere out here was unbelievable. I definitely have a lot to learn about the atmosphere. There is so much with the fans that can get you very emotional very fast. Overall, it was a great atmosphere. The fans were awesome, and I enjoy every bit of them. We will continue to get better."

Penn State (1-0) exploded for five runs in the fifth inning, all coming with two outs. The Nittany Lions filled the bases and grabbed a 2-1 edge after a hit-batter and walk on full counts. Then, Kasie Hatfield lined a 0-1 offering into the right centerfield gap to clear the bases and gave Penn State a 5-1 lead. 

"I was a little inconsistent at times," Mack said. "You have to control the things you can control. I tried to get my "A" game on, and it was just a little off that inning. I tried to take my deep breaths and refocus. It was just a little off. It was one bad inning. My arm was good, and it was nothing about being tired. It was just the matter of that one inning. Whenever things don't go your way, you have to make sure that you bounce back. I didn't do too well with that."

LSU cut the deficit to 5-2 in the bottom of the frame as Ashley Langoni lifted a home run down the left field line.

The Tigers continued to rally during the seventh inning. Heyward slapped an infield single and moved to second base on a Langoni ground out. She came around to score on an Ashleigh Kuhn RBI-single that squirted through the right side. Kuhn finished the game with a 2-for-3 effort in her debut.

Representing the tying run, Morgan Russell lined out to left centerfield to allow Penn State to hang onto the 5-3 victory.

"I thought that was the most positive part of the day," Torina said. "They showed that they still had some fight at the end. We are scoring in the seventh inning and still trying to come back. They never lost hope. I thought that was the most positive thing about the day."

Lisa Akamine went the distance in the circle for the NIttany Lions. She worked around seven walks, five hits and a hit-batter.
LSU returns to action Saturday versus No. 15 Michigan at 12:30 p.m. followed by a 3 p.m. tilt with Penn State during day two of the Tiger Classic. The first game of the day pits Penn State against Louisiana Tech at 10 a.m. and ends with Louisiana Tech meeting No. 15 Michigan at 5:30 p.m.


LSU vs. Penn State
February 10, 2012

Head Coach Beth Torina

On opening day...
"It was great. The atmosphere out here was unbelievable. I definitely have a lot to learn about the atmosphere. There is so much with the fans that can get you very emotional very fast. Overall, it was a great atmosphere. The fans were awesome, and I enjoy every bit of them. We will continue to get better."

On the Brittany Mack...
"She (Brittany Mack) was throwing well. I thought she still struggled a little bit. She was around the zone all night, not as sharp as she would want to be. She had two outs in the (fifth) inning and got the call on the hit by the pitch, which as questionable in my opinion. I think one thing led to another, to another, to another, instead of stopping the bleeding right there. All of those runs were with two outs. That's more of an issue than the way she threw. I think 13 strikeouts is an unbelievable performance."

On not giving up...
"I thought that was the most positive part of the day; they showed that they still had some fight at the end. We are scoring in the seventh inning and still trying to come back. They never lost hope. I thought that was the most positive thing about the day."

On playing tomorrow...
"I am looking for them to answer back. Hopefully, they have an answer. They respond, come out and play the way we are capable of playing. I have to look at the lineup some more. This is one of the toughest lineups I have ever had. There was going to be some changes throughout the weekend just to giving a few more kids some opportunities."

Pitcher Brittany Mack

On the start of the season...
"I am definitely disappointed to start the season off like this, but I take full responsibility. I had one bad inning. We had good defense and took awesome cuts. Just take away my bad outing, and we did really well. We came back in the seventh inning, and we were still scoring with two outs."

On the fifth inning...
"I was a little inconsistent at times. You have to control the things you can control. I tried to get my "A" game on, and it was just a little off that inning. I tried to take my deep breaths and refocus. It was just a little off. It was one bad inning. My arm was good, and it was nothing about being tired. It was just the matter of that one inning. Whenever things don't go your way, you have to make sure that you bounce back. I didn't do too well with that."

On the double by Kasie Hatfield...
"I wanted to throw a different pitch but didn't. (I) shook it off. Every time you do that, you know it is going to be the pitch that they get. It was a curve ball, and I was timid about it. I wanted to jam her, and I didn't go with my instinct. I learned my lesson."

On coming back tomorrow...
"We are looking great, and there are no worries. I just told the girls to flush it. I have already flushed that game. We are going to come out here tomorrow, and we are going to play them again."

 

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