The Slippery Rock women’s softball team’s chance to finish the season at .500 was thwarted – not by an opponent, but by the weather.
The season finale set for Saturday against California University of Pennsylvania was rained out and cancelled, ending the season for SRU with a 16-17 record overall and 3-11 in PSAC play.
Head coach Becky Sciacca reflected on the season and said that team showed improvements throughout the year, but it will be a completely new team coming in next season with the exit of seven seniors from the program.
“I thought that defense really came around this year,” Sciacca said. “The girls did a great job fielding the ball. The team is going to be completely different next year. We’re losing seven seniors so we will be a young team. I’m anxious to see how the girls will do considering how young we’ll be.”
In what would ultimately be SRU’s final game of the season, the Rock split its road doubleheader last Thursday against Gannon University.
Slippery Rock lost the first game 4-2, followed by a 4-3 win in game two. The split led SRU to end the season having won three of its past four games.
The Rock was led by Katie Saluga in game two, who went 3-for-4 with two doubles and four RBI’s. This was Saluga’s 10th multi-hit game of the season which ties her for the team lead with Jenna Geibel. No other player for the Green and White recorded more than one hit in the game.
In game one, Gannon got on the scoreboard first and extended the lead to 3-0, which SRU never recovered from, as they were held to four hits for the game. The Rock made it a ballgame in the sixth inning when Kristen Brant delivered a double with two RBI’s, but Gannon responded by adding an insurance run in the bottom of the inning.
Slippery Rock pitcher Shaylee Ianno (9-8) took the loss while pitching six innings, giving up four runs on nine hits with four strikeouts. Gannon pitcher Megan Dragon (12-9) earned the win while pitching seven innings, giving up two runs on four hits with nine strikeouts.
In game two, Slippery Rock could not get on track offensively through the first three innings, as they could not record a single hit off starting pitcher Erica Barthlow while trailing 3-0. Everything changed in the fifth inning when Breanna Tongel and Emily Lobdell each had a single.
Then with two outs in the inning, Saluga delivered a clutch two run double to cut the deficit to 3-2. After being held scoreless in the sixth inning, the Green and White was down to its final three outs and faced the possibility of being swept. Alaynna Beers drew a leadoff walk, and then with one out, Ashley Knight singled to move Beers into scoring position at second base. Both runners advanced on a groundout, which left Slippery Rock down to its final out.
Saluga delivered another clutch at-bat with a two run double, which gave the Rock the game deciding 4-3 lead.
The victory for the Rock was its first of the season when trailing at the beginning of the seventh inning. Slippery Rock pitcher Ashley Knight (5-8) earned the win while pitching seven innings, giving up three runs on six hits with five strikeouts. Gannon pitcher Erica Bartholow (12-4) took the loss while pitching six innings, giving up four runs on six hits with four strikeouts.
Rock head coach Becky Sciacca said that she was pleased with the team’s effort against Gannon, and that it was good to see the team rally late to get the victory.
“I think the team did great against Gannon,” Sciacca said. “The first game was a little shaky and unfortunately we lost. The girls pulled it together in the second game and came out with a win.”