Softball blows out UPJ in doubleheader sweep

Published by adviser, Author: Brian Hepfinger - Sports Editor, Date: April 16, 2015
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The Slippery Rock University softball team (11-15 overall, 8-8 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) scored a season-high 14 runs Monday in game one of a doubleheader sweep against the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown (4-20 overall, 4-12 PSAC).

Both games were blowouts, with SRU winning the first game 14-1 and the second 10-2.

The Rock’s offense was in full effect in game one, with 11 batters having at least one hit, and nine of them scoring at least one run.

“We’re an offensive team and we hit the ball regardless of the types of pitching that we’re seeing,” SRU head coach Stacey Rice said. “The game is going to go up and done. We were struggling in games before and couldn’t get those clutch hits. It’s part of the game; sometimes everyone is swinging the bat well. It just happened to be Monday that we put it all together.”

This was the second game in which the Green and White have played five innings. In the first instance, they lost 10-1 against Seton Hill University.

“I think it definitely helps and gives you a confidence, but you also have to be weary of that and not get complacent,” Rice said. “When a team changes pitchers, anything can happen. We wanted to take that momentum, but we didn’t want to get complacent from that first game.”

SRU struck first in the second inning, scoring five of their 14 runs. They then continued the offensive output in the third inning, scoring nine runs. Neither team scored after the third inning.

Junior shortstop Katie Kaiser (1-2), senior second baseman Taylor Welch (1-2) and junior designated player Stacey Herzog (1-3) all scored two runs each.

Sophomore pitcher Carly DeRose got the start for the Rock, earning her seventh win (7-7) of the season. DeRose struck out four UPJ batters, while allowing five hits and one run.

“One of the things we emphasize is limiting walks and starting out with first pitch strikes, and she’s really had great focus,” Rice said. “While you’re seeing more success from her on the mound, when you limit those walks and let your defense work, you’re going to get the outs and be more successful.”

Freshman pitcher Brooke Dawson earned her fourth win (4-5) of the season in game two, pitching a complete game. Dawson allowed five hits and one run, while striking out four UPJ batters.

“Every day she’s getting better, trusting herself and she’s not over-pitching,” Rice said. “A lot of the problems we saw with her early on in the season was a little bit of self-doubt in her capabilities. Now she’s starting to trust her pitches, and with her being a lefty, she’s got some different tools that a lot of hitters and teams aren’t used to seeing.”

The Rock’s offense once again dominated, with seven batters having at least one hit. Kaiser (2-3) had one RBI, while junior third baseman Ashley Samluk (3-2) scored two runs and hit three RBIs. Senior right fielder Alaynna Beers (2-4) scored two runs and hit two RBIs. Sophomore designated player Caitlin Baxter (3-4) scored two runs as well.

“Any time your team plays at the level they can and not down to the competition and keep their focus, it’s definitely impressive,” Rice said. “After struggling on Saturday and Sunday, we were able to come back on Monday, bounce back and get two very important wins to clean the slate and stop that losing streak.”

The Green and White’s next game is against Indiana University of Pennsylvania (10-12 overall, 8-4 PSAC) Saturday in Indiana, Pennsylvania at 2:30 and 4:30 p.m.

“We need as many wins as we can possibly get,” Rice said. “Every team is different the second time through, and you can see that in their record. They’re definitely a different team, but so are we.”

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