The Slippery Rock softball team earned its second straight home doubleheader sweep Wednesday afternoon, defeating the Mercyhurst University Lakers in doubleheader action. The two wins bring SRU’s record to 14-13 overall and 3-3 in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) play. They were also the team’s fourth and fifth straight wins and improved The Rock’s home record to 5-3.
Sophomore pitcher Brooke Dawson (5-6, 2.34 ERA) started game one and continued what has been an impressive streak for her. Dawson pitched all seven innings, giving up six hits, one run and striking out four. In her last three starts Dawson is 3-0 with 21 innings pitched, 20 strikeouts and only one earned run.
SRU head coach Stacey Rice thinks Dawson’s hot streak has been a result of her experience.
“You go through times when you’re hot and you go through times when you’re not and I don’t necessarily think there’s a reason for it,” Rice said. “I do think a little bit of it is maturity, last year she was only a freshman and up to this point, she’s been dealing with an injury. I think a lot of it has been just getting comfortable again and believing in herself and trusting her pitches.”
Senior shortstop Katie Kaiser opened the scoring in game one with a two-run double in the second inning, scoring sophomore first-baseman Allie Fisher and senior right fielder Stacey Herzog. Senior Megan Maloney scored on a Mercyhurst error later in the inning to give The Rock a 3-0 lead.
Kaiser added another RBI in the sixth inning with a single that was mishandled by a Laker outfielder that allowed Maloney and Herzog to score.
Dawson gave up a run on a sacrifice fly in the seventh before picking up the game one win.
Junior Carly DeRose (5-4, 1.35 ERA) started game two and only pitched three innings, giving up three hits, two runs and striking out three.
The Rock offense was red-hot in this game, scoring the most runs of any game this season. Junior Caitlin Baxter kicked things off with a three-run home run in the bottom of the first inning that cleared the scoreboard in left field. Baxter added to more RBI’s in the third inning with a two-run double. Baxter’s five RBI’s are the most by any one player in a game so far this year for the Green and White.
Slippery Rock batted around in the fifth, scoring seven runs and another in the fourth to break open an 11-2 lead. The differential led to the game being shorted and only five innings were played.
Sophomore Paige Flore (3-3, 3.17 ERA) relieved DeRose in the fourth inning, pitching the final two innings of the game and sealing the win for Slippery Rock.
Kaiser finished the day going 4-7 with three RBI and Baxter finished 2-6 with five RBI and three runs scored.
Rice likes that there is not only one player that carries the Rock offense.
“It shows that we have multiple leaders, multiples opportunities to get the job done,” Rice said. “I think a lot of that also depends on who’s pitching because some of our batters excel in different pitching situations.”
SRU will return to action Friday at Gannon University and Saturday at California University (Pa.) before returning home to play Edinboro University on Sunday.
Saturday will be a tough test for the Green and White against the first place Cal. Vulcans. The Vulcans swept SRU at home earlier this season.