SRU softball went 1-1 in their double-header against Mercyhurst on Monday afternoon in their first Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West contest at the SRU softball complex.
The Rock lost the first game 5-2 but were able to mount a comeback in the second game and win 7-6 after being down 5-1 after the second inning. In the first game, the Green and White found themselves in a four-to-nothing hole early after four runs on four hits by Mercyhurst in the first inning. Three of the four hits came with two strikes, while most of the damage was also done with two outs. Senior pitcher Carly Derose started the game for The Rock, but left after surrendering four runs in two-and-one-third innings, as junior Paige Flore came in relief.
“It’s a seven-inning game,” head coach Stacey Rice said. “We wanted to take it one pitch at a time and chip away at their pitcher.”
The Rock was able to get on the board in the third inning when junior catcher Lauren Hawley knocked in two runs off of a single to deep center field, cutting the deficit to two. Mercyhurst then added another run for good measure as the Lakers took the win over The Rock 5-2.
The second game mirrored the first game in the beginning when Mercyhurst jumped out to a 5-1 lead, popping a grand slam in the second inning. The Rock was able to spark their offense in the third inning after senior Caitlin Baxter blasted a solo homerun, followed by Hawley doubling to left field the next at-bat. Junior Mckenzie Garland reached on a fielding error, which scored sophomore Caitlyn Mackelvey, who pinch ran for Hawley. Senior Nicole Siciliano then recorded an RBI-single to left center to score Garland and cut it to 5-4.
“I think it’s not necessarily a skill adjustment between games,” Rice said. “It’s more staying positive because there is a game two and you don’t want to take game one into game two.”
Mercyhurst followed suit with a solo home run of their own in the fourth inning, but The Rock fired back with two runs in the fourth as well. Hawley crushed a triple to left field, scoring a run, followed by Garland hitting in the tying run in off of a ground out to the pitcher.
The fifth inning went scoreless, but The Rock was able to score the go-ahead run when Garland landed another RBI off of a single to left field. The Green and White were able to close the game in the seventh inning as junior pitcher Brooke Dawson sat down three straight Lakers to win the game. Dawson improved her season record to 5-4, while notching five strikeouts in the game.
“Our pitching needed to be better,” Rice said. “We had a ton of walks in both games, making us pitch from behind and that needs to tighten up for Wednesday.”
The Rock will be back in action Wednesday, when the team travels south to square off against 9-7 California (Pa.), with the first game starting at 3:00 p.m.