On a sunny Saturday afternoon at the Slippery Rock University softball complex, the SRU women’s softball team hosted the Seton Hill Griffins in a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West division showdown.
Seton Hill took game one of the doubleheader 7-1 and The Rock won game two in a 1-0 shutout.
Junior pitcher Carly DeRose (4-4, 1.53 ERA) started game one and took the loss. DeRose lasted four and two-thirds innings, giving up eight hits, five runs (two earned) and striking out five. Sophomore Paige Fiore (3-3, 3.33 ERA) pitched two-and-a-third innings of relief, surrendering four hits and two more unearned runs.
The game started well for Slippery Rock. DeRose worked a clean top of the first inning and senior shortstop Katie Kaiser double off the right field wall to start off the bottom of the first. Senior left fielder Megan Maloney then sacrifice-bunted Kaiser over to third and senior third baseman Ashley Samluk drove Kaiser in with a sacrifice fly.
Things started to go downhill for the Green and White after that. The Griffins tied the game in the top of the second on a throwing error by DeRose and then took the lead in the top of the third on an RBI double by Seton Hill sophomore Abbey Suhoski.
Suhoski drove in two more runs in the top of the second, aided by an error by junior second baseman Caitlin Baxter. Seton Hill scored two more runs in the fifth and another one in the sixth to cap off the scoring.
Seton Hill was aggressive on the base-paths all game long, which seemed to cause some confusion for The Rock defense. The highlight of the day for SRU came when Maloney reached her glove over the wall in left field and robbed a home run from Seton Hill sophomore Victoria Stock, much to the delight of the Slippery Rock fans in attendance.
Sophomore Brooke Dawson (3-6, 2.75 ERA) started game two for The Rock and was on from the first pitch. Dawson went the distance, pitching all seven innings, giving up only seven hits, striking out six and earning her first career shutout.
The starting pitcher for the Griffins matched Dawson through four innings, until The Rock offense scored the lone run of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Maloney started the inning off with a single and then stole second base to get herself into scoring position. Kaiser followed with a single to center, advancing Maloney to third base and allowing herself to advance to second base. Then with runners on second and third, sophomore center fielder Emily Nagle tried to lay down a bunt to get Maloney home. Nagle bunted the ball right at the third baseman and was thrown out at first, meaning Maloney was not able to score. The next batter, Samluk, hit a fly ball to deep right field, allowing Maloney to tag up and score on Samluk’s second sacrifice fly of the day.
Finally pitching with a lead, Dawson shut the door the rest of the way and Slippery Rock cruised to a 1-0 game two victory.
The Rock finished the day 10-13 (1-3 PSAC) and will return to action in a doubleheader on the road on April 1 against the Mercyhurst University Lakers.