Softball heads to Florida for FAU Tournament

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- After a thrilling win over No. 21 LSU on Monday the Penn State softball team is ready to get back on the field, this time heading to Florida Atlantic for the three-day FAU Tournament. The Nittany Lions will open and close the weekend against another top-tier opponent in No. 5 Kentucky and will also face FAU and in-state rival Pittsburgh.

The Blue and White kick off the weekend against the Wildcats at 4 p.m. on Friday and will face the Owls in a night game at 8 p.m. A doubleheader with Pitt and FAU is on the docket for Saturday with first pitch set for 4 p.m. The Lions will face UK in the final game of the weekend as well in a matchup set for 9 a.m. on Sunday.

Fri. 4 p.m. vs. No. 5 Kentucky
Fri. 8 p.m. vs. FAU
Sat. 4 p.m. vs. Pitt
Sat. 6 p.m. vs. FAU
Sun. 9 a.m. vs. No. 5 Kentucky

The Nittany Lions earned their biggest win of the season last Monday as they took down No. 21 LSU in the second game of a doubleheader. Sophomore Macy Jones posted two RBIs and one run in the win and freshman Shelby Miller went 2-for-4 at the plate with one run to lead Penn State to a 6-5 victory over the Tigers.

Pitcher Marlaina Laubach also played a significant role in the victory, recording three strikeouts in her third complete game for PSU. The freshman moved to a perfect 4-0 on the season with the win.

Penn State registered a new single-game record in Sunday’s win over George Washington as the Lions were walked a total of 15 times in just five innings.

The 15 walks crushed the previous record of 11 free passes set last season against Northwestern (4/20). Penn State has already amassed 55 walks in just nine games this season, more than one third of the total from 2013 (151).

Sophomore Karlie Habitz continues to drive in the runs for the Nittany Lions. The catcher posted three RBIs over the weekend to bring her season total to a team-high and Big Ten third-best 13 in just nine games.

Sophomore Macy Jones is the top hitter for the Nittany Lions so far this season, having recording a team-high 10 hits on 25 at-bats for a batting average of .400. She has totaled nine RBIs and seven runs and has one double to her name.

Sophomore Lexi Knief is atop the conference standings after crossing the plate 13 times in the first nine games of the season.

The center fielder has already surpassed her total of 11 runs from last season.

Freshman pitcher Marlaina Laubach has taken over in the circle for Penn State, earning wins in four of PSU’s five victories. Laubach improved to 4-0 on the season last Monday with a signature win over No. 21 LSU, pitching three strikeouts and giving up just two walks.

The Northampton, Pa. native has allowed just eight runs in 24.0 innings for a team-best ERA of 2.33. She has thrown 13 strikeouts on the season, including a season-high five in her collegiate debut vs. Bradley at the Kajikawa Classic.

Senior Kasie Hatfield is currently tied for first in the league in doubles, having already notched five this season. The Tampa, Fla. native is on pace to surpass her previous season-best of eight doubles from 2012.

The Wildcats enter the weekend as the No. 5 team in the country with a perfect 10-0 record. Junior Griffin Joiner and senior Ginny Carroll have played a large role in UK’s success this season as the leading hitters on the squad.

Joiner has gone 15-for-27 at the plate this season for a team-high batting average of .556. The catcher has driven in 15 runs and scored on seven occasions. She leads the team with six home runs and has also registered two doubles.

Carroll is second on the team with a batting average of .409. The outfielder is 9-for-22 at the plate with two home runs and has tallied six runs and four RBIs.

The freshman duo of Shannon Smith and Meagan Prince has proven to be a strength in the circle for Kentucky. Smith has yet to give up a run this season in 10 innings and has pitched 14 strikeouts with just one walk. Prince follows closely with a 1.38 ERA and has pitched 12 strikeouts in 13 innings.

Florida Atlantic enters the weekend with a 5-5 record and has dropped three of their last five contests.

Senior Whitley Herb leads the Owls on offense with a .419 batting average. She has gone 13-for-31 in the batter’s box with two RBIs and five runs.

Freshmen Amanda Wilson and Kylee Hanson lead the pitching efforts for FAU. Wilson has a team-high ERA of 0.42 and has pitched 11 strikeouts in 16.2 innings on the rubber while Hanson has an ERA of 1.62 and has thrown 15 K’s in 26 innings in the circle.

Pittsburgh is also 5-5 coming into the tournament. The Panthers have dropped five of their last seven games, including three last weekend at the USF Tournament.

Junior Carissa Throckmorton has set the pace for Pitt offensively, going 13-for-35 at the dish with three triples, two doubles and one home run for a batting average of .371. Throckmorton has scored six runs and sent five runners home.

Junior Savannah King has posted a team-best ERA of 3.67 for the Panthers in the circle. King has thrown 29 strikeouts in 40 innings on the rubber.

Following the FAU Tournament, the Blue and White head to Harrisonburg, Va. for the James Madison Invitational March1-2. PSU will take on Kent State, Dartmouth, Fairfield and JMU in the two-day tournament.

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Last Updated February 21, 2014