The Slippery Rock University softball team (5-10, PSAC-West 1-1) split its Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Western Division openers Saturday against Seton Hill University.
The Rock won the first game 6-0. Freshman outfielder Eliza Sykes hit a single into left field, which allowed freshman catcher McKenzie Popatak to score the first run of the game in the second inning. In the third inning, Popatak hit a homerun, giving SRU a 2-0 lead.
After a single by junior infielder Taylor Welch, a sacrifice bunt by senior pitcher Emily Lobdell, and a single by sophomore outfielder Megan Maloney, the Green and White scored again in the fourth inning. Welch advanced to third base, while Maloney advanced to second base after Sykes grounded out to Seton Hill’s pitcher. After an error by Seton Hill’s third basemen, sophomore infielder Ashley Samluk reached first base, while Maloney advanced to third base, and Welch scored.
Senior first basemen Breanna Tongel, who went 2-4 with three RBIs, hit a double to right field, allowing Samluk and Maloney to score. Tongel had a huge hit once again in the sixth inning. She hit a single, which allowed Samluk to advance to third, and Sykes to score.
“We were focused and intense during the first game,” Samluk said.
The second game of the day was full of Seton Hill homeruns. They defeated SRU 5-3. Seton Hill scored all five runs in the second and third innings. Freshman Hope Pehrson hit a two-run homerun to start the scoring for Seton Hill in the second inning. In the third inning, junior pitcher and 1st basemen Christine Henderson and freshman infielder Carlee Wickstrom hit back-to-back homeruns, putting Seton Hill ahead of SRU 5-0.
In the third inning, Maloney hit a single, which allowed Welch to score the Rock’s first run. Welch hit a two-run homerun in the sixth inning, making the score 5-3 Seton Hill.
SRU freshman pitcher Carly DeRose was given the loss. She allowed four runs on six hits in two innings. In her first season with the Rock, DeRose has a 2-5 record.
“The adjustment from pitching in high school to pitching in college is huge,” DeRose said. “Pitching to college athletes requires a pitcher to be more disciplined, because one missed spot can make the difference in a game.”
Samluk spoke highly of her teammates and said that she believes the team can turn their season back in the direction they had hoped for.
“I have so much faith in every one of our pitchers,” Samluk said. “The game we play is a game of failures; some people are on at certain times and some aren’t.”
The Green and White will continue the PSAC action with a doubleheader on Tuesday April 1 against Clarion University starting at 1 p.m.