Rock softball tormented by slow start

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As the Slippery Rock women’s softball team (1-7, 1-7 in PSAC) laced up their cleats for another series of games, the outcomes remained the same. The Rock was swept in both doubleheaders against Seton Hill (7-3, 4-0 in PSAC) this past week.

Head coach Stacey Rice commented on the girls’ performance, saying, “The girls are playing well offensively for not having much outdoor practice.”

Specifically, Rice commented on sophomore infielder Cami Fisk who she says has consistently showed up each game putting up power numbers. Fisk came in as a transfer, so her abilities were unknown to the team and coaches prior to the season.

Rice also added, “It was nice to see her hitting clean-up and actually having runs produced as planned.”

With a final score of 3-2, the game was kept within reach the entire time. The pitching changes between sophomore Chloe Sharman and freshman Claire Zimmerman allowed for a good day from the circle.

Lauren Dellet of Seton Hill quickly halted the bats of Slippery Rock from the mound, allowing only two runs, which evidently helped to secure a win for the Griffins.

Alexis Vargas doubled and Morgan Toal singled to start the 2-0 lead for the Griffins. A fielding error allowed senior outfielder Alexa Guglielmino and sophomore utility player Regan Hozak to tie the game early on.

The rest of the game fell flat and Seton Hill struck again, scoring just once more to seal the winning run-in. Guglielmino, Zimmerman, Anna Villies, Julianna Hutchinson, and Erin Gardner stood out offensively, all with at least one hit a piece in game one.

In game two, The Rock fell 6-2, even after giving it a strong effort. Villies had a day along with Leah Vith, who went 2-for-3.

Rookie Kelsi Anderson threw the first pitch for Slippery Rock in game two and allowed five runs, only four being earned by the bats of the Griffins. Coach Rice said, “Kelsi is a big part of the good.”

After a five-run sixth inning, Anderson was relieved by Sharman, who allowed one run in one inning. The sixth inning was a mix between wild pitches and errors to allow the closer matchup to slip away. Jenna Osikowicz went 3-for-3 with a triple to increase the lead.

The combined effort of the Slippery Rock defense wasn’t enough to compare to Lauren Bertig, who completed the game and sealed the victory for Seton Hill.

After losing the first doubleheader, the team cleared their heads and practiced before hosting the Griffins on Saturday for their first home series.

Coach Rice told the team if they “eliminate the fielding errors, they will begin to see change.” She also added that keeping realistic expectations for stats and swinging their bats will be what it takes to get the team going.

Six was the lucky number as Seton Hill shutout Slippery Rock, 6-0, in game one of the second doubleheader series. In addition to the first loss, the second game was also a sweep of 4-0. Between the two games The Rock fell flat and couldn’t get into the groove they needed to score runs.

Sophomore outfielder Anna Villies was led up to bat, notching three hits. However, it wasn’t enough to get others in scoring position. Overall, game one was held to lack of walks and a lot of control from the Griffins pitcher Lauren Dellet, who struck out four in a great effort to get her fourth complete game win.

Kelsi Anderson took the loss for Slippery Rock, allowing five earned runs and four strikeouts over 5 innings.

Osikowicz led at the plate yet again, with a two RBI-single. In addition to her, Samantha Estupinan and Nichole McClendon, who each scored for the Griffins, added to the lead that shut Slippery Rock down.

Coach Rice said the good pitching from Seton Hill along with the offense being unproductive is why the team struggled in the series.

Zimmerman kept the game alive with a solid effort from the mound in game two. The first four innings of the game were a shutout by Zimmerman, until four runs were allowed in the later innings of the game, before she was relieved by Sharman.

Those four runs would be the only runs scored the entire game, with a final score of 4-0. The Griffins strengthened their record and Slippery Rock returned to the locker room with another round of losses within PSAC West play.

Villies, Gardner, and Hutchinson all added hits on the day, but none would score.

After the great hitting displayed in the season opener, the dynamic changed against Seton Hill.

“The effort against Seton Hill was much better than Indiana (Pa.),” said Rice. “It’s time to get polished up and face California (Pa.) next.”

She added that more upcoming outdoor practices would benefit the team greatly.

“If we continue to be better than we were yesterday that is all I can ask for,” said Rice.

Although the team is off to a rough start, they’re getting better and with more action from the offense and defense combined, they will begin seeing the results they want. The overall record is now sitting at 1-7 in conference play.

The next competitor on their list is California (Pa.) Vulcans, on Friday, March 26, and Saturday, March 27, for another round of doubleheaders.

Madison Williams is a sophomore Communications & Converged Journalism Major and has a minor in sports management. Madison is a first-year member of both The Rocket and WSRU-TV news as an anchor. After graduation, Madison plans to score a job in Sports Broadcasting.

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