Golden Knights sweep softball in double header

Published by adviser, Author: Brian Hepfinger - Sports Editor, Date: April 23, 2015
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The Slippery Rock University softball team (14-20 overall, 11-13 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) had two of their lowest scoring games of the season Tuesday in two losses against Gannon University (21-8 overall, 15-3 PSAC).

This was the first series between SRU and the number one seed Gannon. Gannon won both games fairly handily, with a game one score of 9-2 and a game two score of 12-4.

The first game was uncharacteristic for the Rock for multiple reasons. The Green and White’s offense is usually what carries the team, but it was unable to get going in either game.

“It was unfortunate that our team struggled at the plate on Tuesday and was unable to make enough adjustments in the box earlier in the game, but we still never gave up on our goals and getting the win,” senior second baseman Taylor Welch said. “We have very important games in the next couple days and have to move past previous games and just focus on the present.”

The Rock only had four hits in the first game, and they scored their two runs in the first two innings. Junior shortstop Katie Kaiser, Welch, junior third baseman Ashley Samluk and freshman catcher Lauren Hawley were the four Rock batters that had hits.

“They have great pitching and they throw well,” SRU head coach Stacey Rice said. “It was very cold, very windy and definitely not a spring game. The wind was taking a lot of our hits and hanging them. We were aggressive and putting the ball in play, but we weren’t catching any breaks.”

Samluk echoed Rice’s comments and said that the team hit the ball well, but not in the right positions.

“While our bats could’ve been a little better, we were actually hitting the ball fairly well, just right at people, unfortunately,” Samluk said. “We had a few long balls too, and the wind took them. We always face some bad wind up in Erie around this time.”

Freshman pitcher Marissa Harris (0-3) got the start for the Green and White, allowing eight hits and seven runs in 2.2 innings.

“She did fine and she started off throwing strikes and not getting too deep in the count,” Rice said. “The hits that they got were just singles. They had quite a few solid hits, but they just manufactured well.”

Fellow freshman pitcher Brooke Dawson came in during the third inning to take over for Harris, allowing five hits and two runs in 3.1 innings. Harris was tagged with the loss, her third of the season.

Samluk said she believes the pitching staff didn’t struggle against Gannon and that they’re just a very good team.

“Gannon is a very good hitting team with great discipline at the plate, which is one of the reasons why they are one of the top teams in our conference,” Samluk said. “I have a lot of faith in our pitching staff, and it’s important that we are there for them defensively.”

The second game wasn’t much better for the Rock, with the offense once again struggling and only having four hits. Kaiser, Welch and junior first baseman Stacey Herzog were the only SRU batters to have hits.

Sophomore pitcher Carly DeRose (8-10) was on the mound for the entire game. DeRose allowed 12 hits and 12 runs in 5.1 innings pitched in her 10th loss of the season.

“Carly’s hitting a little bit of a rough patch as all ball players do offensively or defensively, so we’re trying to do things to get her into the groove that she was in earlier in the season,” Rice said. “She understands the philosophy of where we’re going and what we’re doing with that. I thought she was gonna be a better match up for the pitcher they were gonna throw in game two, so it was a little bit of a philosophical reasoning there.”

The Rock’s schedule has been hit with a few changes, including a cancellation of Wednesday’s doubleheader against Gannon and a postponement of Thursday’s games against California University of Pennsylvania (24-9 overall, 18-5 PSAC).

“Losing the games doesn’t necessarily scare me, it’s the fact that we lost games altogether,” Rice said. “We’re coming down to the wire, and not having games on our schedule is what’s hurting us.”

Samluk agreed with Rice, and said that cancellations are just a part of the game.

“We deal with this year after year, and have a very heavy schedule toward the end of April, which is what we’re seeing now,” Samluk said.

SRU’s next game is against Clarion University (5-27 overall, 4-22 PSAC) Saturday at 1 p.m. in Clarion, Pennsylvania.

“I don’t see us having any issues against Clarion on Saturday as well as Edinboro on Monday,” Rice said. “They’re prepared, ready to go and they know what’s at stake; I think you’ll see that. It’s just a matter of if those games are enough.”

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