Rock softball split their doubleheader against Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West second place California University (Pa.) (CalU) on Saturday, losing the first game 10-4 in nine innings, followed by a defense-filled 2-1 win in the second game.
Coming into the match-ups, The Rock came in with a 10-17 record, putting them in fifth place in the PSAC West, with CalU coming in with a 15-11 record placing them in second. Senior pitcher Carly DeRose started the first game for the Green and White, coming in with a 3-6 record. She pitched four innings, while surrendering two earned runs off eight hits and striking out three batters.
The Rock found themselves down 4-0 entering the bottom of the sixth inning, but the offense was sparked when senior third baseman Cait Baxter and junior catcher Lauren Hawley kicked off the inning with back-to-back singles. Sophomore shortstop Kailey Myers then followed suit with a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners into scoring position at second and third, followed by a single by senior right fielder Nicole Siciliano to score a run, getting The Rock on the board.
“We had just a lot of missed opportunities,” SRU softball head coach Stacey Rice said. “There were bases loaded with no outs then we didn’t do anything early on.”
Freshman infielder Machala Andrews then singled to shortstop, scoring another run, making the score 4-2. Junior catcher Mckenzie Garland, who pinch ran for Sicilano, then attempted to steal third, when the catcher overthrew the throw, allowing Garland to turn and score to make the game 4-3. The Rock would then tie the game at four in the seventh inning when sophomore second baseman Megan Brown scored off a wild pitch from CalU. The game would need extra innings, stretching to the ninth inning when Cal U scored six runs, with four coming off a grand slam. The Green and White weren’t able to muster another comeback in the second half of the ninth inning, losing the game 10-4.
“They (Cal U) are coached very well,” Rice said. “They play til the very end of the game, they’re never out of any game.”
In the second game, junior pitcher Brooke Dawson got the start for The Rock, coming in with a 6-6 record. Dawson pitched a complete game, giving up one run off six hits and retiring four batters. Both teams were able to gather some hits, but both defenses came out strong in the second game. The Rock was first to get on the board in the second inning when freshman infielder Alexa Guglielmino knocked in Siciliano on a sacrifice flyout with the bases loaded to take a 1-0 lead.
The Rock would then add to their lead in the third inning when Myers sacrifice fly out to right field, scoring Brown to then take a 2-0 lead after three innings. The scoreboard would remain the same as Dawson and the defense remained dominant until the seventh inning when CalU got a run and created a scare, leaving the tying and go-ahead runs on base and in scoring position as The Rock went on to win 2-1.
“She (Dawson) was outstanding,” Rice said. “She just pounded the strike zone and just went right at them.”
SRU softball currently sits in fourth place in the PSAC West with an 11-18 record. Their next match-up will come on Tuesday when the Green and White play host to non-conference Point Park University (17-12) in a doubleheader with the first game starting at 3:00 p.m. and the second game at 5 p.m.