The Slippery Rock University softball team (9-11 overall, 6-4 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) swept another conference opponent Monday, securing two wins over Clarion University (2-14 overall, 1-9 PSAC).
SRU won the first game 2-0, shutting out Clarion. The Rock didn’t score a run until the fourth inning. Senior second basemen Taylor Welch (2-3) started things off for the Green and White with a triple to right field. Freshman catcher Lauren Hawley (2-2) hit a single up the middle of the field, which allowed Welch to score.
“It was sluggish for sure, and it was low offensive production,” SRU head coach Stacey Rice said. “It’s impossible to have 13 run games every game you play in this conference. I knew there would be games where we had to rely on our pitching. I expected a much higher hitting and scoring game, but those happen.”
The Rock’s second run of the game came in the sixth inning. Senior right fielder Alaynna Beers (0-2) reached first base off of a walk. Freshman pitcher Paige Flore came in to pinch run for Beers. Flore reached second base off of a sacrifice bunt from Junior infielder Stacey Herzog, and then stole third base. Welch then hit a single to center field, which allowed Flore to score, giving the Rock a 2-0 lead.
Sophomore pitcher Carly DeRose got the start for the Rock and pitched a complete game. In seven innings of work, DeRose struck out five Clarion batters, allowed four hits and no runs. This was DeRose’s fifth win of the season.
“Carly did everything I wanted her to do, she rose to the occassion and pitched well,” Rice said. “Nothing was hit hard, she stayed ahead in the count. There was no reason why I shouldn’t give the start in the second game.”
DeRose said she always has to stay focused in order to perform and pitch effectively.
“No matter the score, there is always pressure to pitch well,” DeRose said. “Softball is a game full of surprises, and a team can score runs at any moment. One of the “pitcher rules” is to keep the game within at least one run and I work my hardest to follow that rule.”
The second game featured much more offense from both teams.
The Rock won 5-2. DeRose once again got the start for the Rock, picking up her sixth win and improving her record to 6-5. In five innings, DeRose allowed two runs and five hits while striking out five Clarion batters. Freshman pitcher Brooke Dawson came in for the sixth and seventh inning. Dawson allowed no hits or runs and struck out four Clarion batters. This was the first save for Dawson in her collegiate career.
“Against Clarion, I feel that I had good control over my pitches, however, I give credit to the defense for the shut out; they were solid during both games,” DeRose said.
The Green and White scored all five of their runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. SRU scored two runs in the fourth off of multiple errors by Clarion. The two runs in the fifth inning were due to a bunt, groundout and a single, which allowed runners that were already on base to advance further and eventually score. The final run was scored by sophomore catcher McKenzie Popatak, who tripled to right field and then eventually scored off of a ground out to second base by freshman infielder Kaylee Pistorius, giving the Rock a 5-2 lead.
The Green and White was scheduled to play Edinboro University (9-6-1 overall, 1-4-1 PSAC) on Tuesday, but it was postponed due to weather conditions. The Rock was also scheduled to play California University of Pennsylvania (14-5 overall, 8-1 PSAC) Friday, but those games were cancelled as well.
The Rock’s next game is against Seton Hill University (15-8-1 overall, 7-6-1 PSAC) Saturday at home at 1 p.m.
“They’re definitely a threat in our conference and we’re sitting eye to eye with them in the standings,” Rice said. “We kind of need to come up with a sweep to control our own destiny in terms of placement in the conference.”