The Slippery Rock softball team returned home in a big way Thursday afternoon, earning a sweep over the Edinboro Fighting Scots. The Rock offense was on fire, scoring a combined 27 runs between the two games.
Slippery Rock head coach Stacey Rice said that her team was just trying to stay aggressive and take advantage of some lackluster pitching.
“I think a lot of it has to do with being aggressive and not letting the pitcher dictate the count,” Rice said. “We hadn’t played a game in over a week, as of yesterday, and so it was nice to get a couple games under their belts and move on.”
Sophomore Brooke Dawson (5-7, 2.19 ERA) started in game one and gave up five runs in two and two-thirds innings pitched. Edinboro scored two runs off Dawson in the top of the first inning on a bases-loaded, two-out base hit.
Senior shortstop Katie Kaiser and sophomore outfielder Emily Nagle started off the bottom of the first inning with back-to-back singles. Senior third baseman Ashley Samluk then drove in Kaiser on an RBI double to make the score 2-1. Three batters later, sophomore catcher Lauren Hawley hit her second home run of the season with the bases loaded for a first inning grand slam that knocked the Edinboro pitcher out of the game. Senior outfielder Megan Maloney later added a sacrifice fly to finish The Rock’s scoring and make the score 6-2 after one inning.
Edinboro added another run in the top of the second inning. The Green and White responded with six more runs in the bottom of the inning, highlighted by a Kaiser two-run single to pull away with a 12-3 lead.
Edinboro did not give up however, scoring two runs in the third, one run in the fourth and four runs in the fifth. The Rock continued to respond though. Senior Stacey Herzog and Kaiser added home runs and the scored was 12-10 heading into the bottom of the fifth.
The Rock scored two more runs before Samluk hit a walk-off three-run home run that pushed the lead to 20-10 and ended the game early.
Sophomore Paige Flore (3-4, 4.54 ERA) came in relief of Dawson in the third inning and gave up five runs in two and a third innings.
Junior Carly DeRose (6-4, 1.57 ERA) started game two and pitched all seven innings, giving up five runs on six hits while striking out seven.
Edinboro took the lead in the second inning on a run-scoring double, and Edinboro starter Carley Nasca was able to shut down The Rock offense through the first five innings.
Heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, The Rock was trailing 3-1. Sophomore first baseman Allie Fisher drove in Herzog, who had doubled, and Maloney singled with the bases loaded to tie the game at 3-3. With the bases loaded and no outs, Kaiser hit a ground ball that was mishandled by the Fighting Scots third baseman, allowing Fisher and freshman Megan Brown to score.
“(Kaiser’s) the person you want up to bat when the game’s on the line,” Rice said. “She thrives in pressure situations. She figures out a way to get it done. She finds herself in that spot to win the game often.”
Three batters later, Herzog singled up the middle with the bases, scoring Kaiser and Maloney and giving SRU a 7-3 lead after six innings.
Edinboro rallied for two runs in the top of the seventh, but DeRose was able to close out the game and give The Rock a 7-5 win and a doubleheader sweep.
Kaiser finished the day five hits a home run, four RBI and four runs scored, Hawley had four hits, a home run and four RBI, Samluk finished with two hits, a home run and five RBI and Herzog had four hits, a home run, five RBI and three runs scored.
The team has a full slate of games this weekend, with doubleheaders against Mercyhurst, Seton Hill and California (Pa.) over the weekend.