The Slippery Rock University softball team honored their seniors on Friday afternoon in between games of a double header against Edinboro University. The Rock ultimately lost both games, losing 5-4 and 2-1, respectively.
Head coach Stacy Rice said mental errors, especially on the base paths, as well as not capitalizing when runners were in scoring position were the major factors to why The Rock did not come out victorious in either game.
“During the first game, it was just not being awake in the first inning,” Rice explained. “It was just sloppy.”
In game one, the Fighting Scots took an early 2-0 lead on a throwing error by junior catcher Lauren Hawley and on a wild pitch by Rock starting pitcher senior Carly DeRose.
Neither team would threaten the other for the majority of the game as the game’s next runs would come in the seventh inning. With two outs and runners on second and third, Rock junior center fielder Emily Nagle hit a 2-RBI single that scored senior right fielder Nicole Siciliano from third base and sophomore infielder Hannah Nestor from second base to tie the game at two.
It would take four more innings to decide the fate of game one. Edinboro would take the lead in the top of the 10th inning on a fielder’s choice that scored the runner from third to give the Fighting Scots a 3-2 lead. The Green and White would answer in the bottom half as sophomore Megan Brown would reach base on an error by Edinboro’s shortstop that scored freshman left fielder Alexa Guglielmino.
Edinboro would again retaliate in the top half of the 11th inning when the Fighting Scots’ Jessica Hyland flied out to center field that scored the runner from third. Edinboro would add another run in the very next at-bat when Brittany Allen also flied out to center field to score the runner from third to give Edinboro the 5-3 advantage.
The Rock would threaten Edinboro’s lead in the home half of the 11th inning when sophomore shortstop Kailey Myers singled to right field to score Hawley from second to narrow the deficit to 5-4. Slippery Rock could not quite tie the game up again as they would go down on a sac bunt, a foul out and a ground out to give Edinboro their first of two victories of the afternoon.
DeRose allowed two runs (both earned) on seven hits while striking out five in six-and-a-third innings. Junior Paige Flore would come in relief to pitch the final four and two-thirds innings. She allowed three runs (one earned) on five hits and struck out one. Flore also took the loss, her fifth of the season.
Rice praised the pitching in game one by saying that the performances put on by DeRose and Flore were not at all the reason behind game one’s loss.
The Fighting Scots would take an early 1-0 lead in game two when Edinboro’s Danna Heh opened the game up with an infield hit. She would steal second and would advance to third on a groundout by teammate Theresa Fleckenstein. Heh would eventually score on a single to right field by Brooke Callaghan.
The Rock would even things up in the bottom of the third inning when senior third baseman Caitlin Baxter doubled to left field to score Brown from second base.
Edinboro would not let the game be tied for long, however, as Hyland would connect on a solo home run to center field to give her team a 2-1 lead, which would prove to the game-winning run.
Slippery Rock would not be able to score again for the remainder of the game, as they would end up losing their second game of the afternoon 2-1, thus being officially eliminated from playoff contention this season.
Junior Brooke Dawson would pitch all seven innings, giving up two runs (both earned) on three hits while striking out six in the process.
Rice said that with Dawson’s pitching performance and the fact that Slippery Rock outhit Edinboro 8-3, there should have been no reason why her team should have lost in game two.
Rice also talked about the impact of losing three dynamic softball players in DeRose, Baxter and Siciliano.
“Nicole has put in a lot of work over the year to finally grab the starting job in right field,” Rice said of Siciliano. “She did not have many opportunities leading up to this year, so that really shows her focus and dedication to the team and to playing.”
Rice also talked about how losing the versatility and passion from Baxter after this season will definitely be hard for her team.
“Cait has played a different position every year here on the team. She is the definition of a team player,” Rice said of Baxter. “‘Whatever you need me to do, Coach’ comes out of her mouth every time. I would love to have 12 Caits on a team.”
Rice concluded with talking about DeRose and how, because she has anchored the pitching staff for the past several years, it will be very difficult not having her on the team next year.
“[DeRose] is probably the hardest worker on this team, she is a workhorse,” Rice said. “It is just going to be really tough to see those three leave, even though there are only three, they definitely had a strong presence in the locker room as well as on the field.