SRU softball had their hands full with spring break tournament

Published by The Rocket, Author: Stephen Cukovich - Assistant Sports Editor, Date: March 22, 2018
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Slippery Rock University softball went 6-6 during their spring break tournament in Clermont, Fl. last week, reaching 21 total games played, which currently is tied with West Chester University (14-7) for the most games played so far this season in the conference.

“We played a lot of solid teams and so our goal was .500 and we met that goal,” SRU softball head coach Stacey Rice said.  “We were pretty happy with it, like I said there was some really good talent down there.”

The Rock currently sits with a 13-8 record which lands them in first place in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West.  Their first place standing puts them five wins ahead of second place Gannon University (8-7), but Gannon having less games played.

In their Florida tournament, the Green and White played a double-header everyday last week, except for one day, with some of the games bright and early in the morning.

“Towards the back end of the week you can kind of see them getting a little sluggish, our arms are maybe a little more tired, but that’s baseball,” Rice said.  “It’s kind of just the nature of the game and we kind of know that going into it.”

To start the week, The Rock took two losses on their first day to University of Bridgeport 0-1, and to Lemoyne College 2-5.  They followed up with two convincing wins the following day against University of Illinois Springfield 4-0, and a 12-4 win over Saint Michael’s College in six innings.  The next day the Green and White took two more losses against University of Charleston 4-7, and Northwood University 0-8.

After taking the day off on Tuesday last week, The Rock was able to rack up two shutout wins on Wednesday over Jefferson 9-0 in five innings, and Bloomsburg University 3-0.  On Thursday, The Rock squared off against Wayne University, taking the loss 1-7, but rebounding against University of Minnesota Crookston with a 2-0 win.  To wrap up their tournament, the Green and White took the loss to University of Sioux Falls (S.D) 1-8, but was able to win their final game of the tournament against Bemidji State University 3-2.

“I think the more you can play, the more rhythm you get into,” Rice said.  “Because a lot of it early on is trying to figure out those kinks.  Like we were trying to figure out who our right fielders were.  We knew Brooke (Dawson) was going to be our ace, but we didn’t know who was going to be our number two.”

To end the tournament, senior outfielder Emily Nagle extended her game hitting streak to 10 games, with six of the games involving multiple hits as well.  Junior infielder Kailey Myers currently leads the team in batting average with .397.  Currently, Rock softball has six players with a batting average above .300, but lands their team batting average at .282 on the season.  However, their 159 team hits lands them at second in the PSAC in that category, but being tied for first for the most games under their belt this season definitely helps.

“I mean our goal as a team is to be around .300 (batting average) and I really look at the starters, are they producing,” Rice said.  “That’s more of my concern rather than the team as a whole.”

With three starts on the season, and eight total games played, freshmen pitcher Camie Shumaker is rocking the conference with a 5-0 record and a conference leading ERA of .4 so far on the season.  During the trip to Florida, Shumaker gave up only one earned run through in 25.2 innings pitched, which includes three complete game shutouts.

“She’s [Shumaker] incredible right now.  She’s ice cold, pitching like she’s been there,”  Rice said.  “We were using her primarily in relief roles early on, just to kink of give her experience and not push too much, but then it was time, because she just kept doing wonderful things.”

The Rock hopes to get conference play underway this weekend with a double-header against Lock Haven University (7-9) on Saturday.  Game times are scheduled for 1:00 and 3:00 p.m., but with weather permitting, coach Rice said she just hopes they are able to take the field on Saturday.

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