The Slippery Rock University softball team (5-11) scored their second highest amount of runs in two games against the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown (3-9) Tuesday.
The Rock managed to score eight runs in both games, winning the first game 8-1 and losing the second game 9-8.
The Green and White dominated the first game. A combination of solid pitching and offense decided the game.
“If you’re putting up eight runs a game, you should win the game,” SRU head coach Stacey Rice said. “It’s a matter of finding the balance. We have a very young pitching staff. I think it’s all there, it’s just a matter of maturing and getting it to all click together at once. I think we have what it takes to win games consistently, it’s just now about finding the combination and lineup that works best.”
SRU sophomore pitcher Carly DeRose was in full form. She allowed five hits, one run and struck out nine UPJ batters. This was her third win in five games.
“That was one of the best games she’s pitched since being here at Slippery Rock,” Rice said. “She exemplified great command, knew the gameplan and followed through with it. She’s improved so much between freshman year and sophomore year, and that’s definitely credited to her work ethic and her focus. She was humbled a little in her freshman year and knew what needed to happen in order for her to improve upon herself and she’s done everything she can to improve.”
Five SRU batters had at least one hit, with junior infielders Ashley Samluk, Stacey Herzog and Katie Kaiser leading the way.
Kaiser went 3-3 and scored two runs. Samluk went 2-4 and had one RBI, while Herzog went 2-3 with three runs and four RBIs.
Rice said she hopes Herzog continues to play well and develop into a great offensive player for SRU.
“If she’s able to continue to perform in those pressure situations, you’re going to keep seeing her in the lineup,” Rice said. “Whether it’s as the designated hitter role, first base role or pinch hitter position, we have a very deep bench when it comes to swinging the bat, so it’s great to have options.”
In the second game, the Rock’s offense once again produced a high amount of hits and runs, but their pitching struggled.
Freshman pitcher Brooke Dawson got the start for the Green and White, allowing five hits and five runs in 3.1 innings.
“She just needed to throw more strikes,” Rice said. “The team wasn’t an overpowering hitting team and she was falling behind, trying to play out of herself and didn’t have her best outing. That’s going to happen, we understand that and that’s part of her growing.”
Sophomore Sarah Petrash came in for three innings and allowed two hits and one run. Freshman Paige Flore allowed two hits and three runs in 0.2 innings of work.
SRU’s offense featured nine batters with at least one hit. Kaiser (2-4), senior infielder Taylor Welch (2-3) and freshman first basemen Allie Fischer (2-4) all had two hits. The Rock’s eight runs were spread out between Samluk, Kaiser, Welch, Herzog, sophomore catcher McKenzie Popatak and sophomore infielder Caitlin Baxter.
The Rock was scheduled to face Mercyhurst University on Saturday, but that game has been postponed. The Green and White are set to face Indiana University of Pennsylvania on Sunday at home at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Rice said she and the rest of the team aren’t going into Sunday’s game thinking that they can win the games easily, considering IUP has a record of 2-8.
“We need to somehow get a few more wins from a team that, although is 2-8, is a good team,” Rice said. “IUP is not someone to be taken lightly. If we can get a sweep or a split, we’ll be sitting a little bit better. They’re usually a top playoff contender in our conference, and I’m not going to look at their record and take them any differently than I originally anticipated.”