The Slippery Rock softball team droped both games of their double-header against Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West first place Gannon University when The Rock lost 4-3 twice on Monday to the Golden Knights.
SRU came into the match-up winning three of their last five to improve their record to 9-14, with a 3-3 record in PSAC West play. Junior center fielder Emily Nagle came in leading the PSAC in batting average at .457. Teammate and senior third-baseman Cait Baxter also came into contests with a PSAC top-ten batting average of .411, while leading the team in home runs with three.
“It’s cool to have that opportunity to lead the PSAC,” Nagle said. “I’m trying not to let it get to my head so I can stay focused and help my team win.”
Senior pitcher Carly DeRose came into game one with a 3-5 record and was able to pitch a complete game, giving up four earned runs off of six hits with five strikeouts. The Rock drew first blood in the first inning after Nagle reached on an error and was later drove in by sophomore second-baseman Megan Brown to take a 1-0 lead. They then added to that lead in the second inning off of a RBI single by junior first-baseman Allie Fischer.
Gannon fired back in the third inning with a three-run home run to claim the lead 3-2, but The Rock kept fighting and was able to tie the game at three off of a RBI single by junior catcher Lauren Hawley later in the third. The Green and White would then surrender another run in the fifth inning and wasn’t able to come back, losing the first game 4-3.
“Their pitching kept us off balance a bit,” head coach Stacey Rice said. “Olivia (Gumbita) is a real nice pitcher, she has a nice change up which can make it hard for us to get into a rhythm.”
In the second game, junior pitcher Brooke Dawson made her 13th start (6-6), pitching a complete game giving up four runs on eight hits. Gannon jumped out to an early lead with some two-out magic off a deep shot to right field, scoring a run to take a 1-0 lead.
The game remained a defensive battle until The Rock finally broke free in the sixth inning, when Baxter knocked two runs in and advanced to third with some help from an error by the catcher. Hawley then was able to hit Baxter in with a single up the middle to take a 3-1 lead heading into the seventh inning. The comeback was short-lived though, as Gannon scored three runs of their own in the seventh inning to reclaim the lead 4-3, with the runs coming in off an error in right field and a questionable call at the plate on the third run of the inning. The Green and White went down one, two, three in the bottom of the seventh, losing 4-3.
“We just need to be able to shut the door,” Rice said. “We were our own worst enemy in the second game.”
The Rock will get back to work this Friday when the team travels to Edinboro University to take on the 11-12 Fighting Scots in a double-header with the first game starting at 2:30 p.m.