On Wednesday, Penn State (13-26) will travel to Kent, Ohio to take on Kent State (24-10) for a twin bill beginning at 3 p.m.
This past weekend, the Nittany Lions were able to score only one run in three games against Wisconsin, who showcased their ace Cassandra Darrah (18-7, 2.15) twice. This weekend, the Lions will look to their lineup led by Cassidy Bell to right the ship against Kent State’s dominant freshman Emma Johnson (13-11, 2.04).
Bell’s .364 BA towers above Kent State’s entire roster, and although the junior has played in just 21 games this season, her seven home runs match Kent State’s team-leader Abbey Ledford’s total, who has played 44 games.
Bell’s home run in the series-opener against Wisconsin accounted for Penn State’s lone run in the series, as she finished the series 3-for-7.
Kasie Hatfield, last week's Big Ten Player of the Week, cooled down in the Wisconsin series, finishing 1-for-7. However, she was 3-for-6 in the Kent State series last season.
Also, the Lions were able to put up a nine-spot against the Golden Flashes’ Danielle Abernathy last season, including a 2-run home run from Alyssa Sovereign. Abernathy (7-7, 3.46 this season) is likely to take the hill against the Lions again this series.
The Golden Flashes’ secret weapon against the Lions could be senior 1B Shannon Laughlin. Laughlin was struggling most of the season (.258, 4 HR, 22 RBI) before being named the MAC’s player of the week for her performance this past week, highlighted by six hits and seven RBI.
Kent State has traditionally been a matchup Penn State looks forward to, as they have defeated Golden Flashes in each of the past six contests. The last time the two linked up was last April, when Penn State toppled Kent State 4-2 in extra innings, which similarly helped the Lions snap a three-game losing streak.
This series marks the non-conference finale for both clubs. Penn State will finish the season with three favorable series against Illinois, Ohio State and Minnesota, all of whom share sub-.500 Big 10 records with Penn State.