Rock softball suffers setback against Golden Knights


Following postponements, the Slippery Rock University softball team (2-12, 2-12 in the PSAC West) continued its nightmarish stretch this week, dropping all four outings of a home-and-home doubleheader series to Gannon (10-8, 9-5 in the PSAC West).

The home field advantage at the SRU Softball Complex on Saturday wasn’t enough to get the team going. In game one, the Golden Knights shut out The Rock, 5-0, before finalizing the sweep with a game two victory with a score of 3-1.

Sophomore pitcher Chloe Sharman, currently holding a 3.44 ERA, led the day, allowing two earned runs, striking out seven, and pitching in both games of the series. Freshman hurler Kelsi Anderson, with an ERA of 3.68,  pitched for Slippery Rock, giving up four runs and striking out one. As for Gannon, Kennedy DeMatteis, holding a 3.67 ERA and carrying a no-hitter into the fifth inning, was what ultimately gave way to the lead of 5-0.

Freshman catcher Julianna Hutchinson hit her first double of the season while sophomore outfielder Anna Villies carried the team offensively with two hits and a run scored on the day.

Along with Hutchinson and Villies, sophomore infielder Erin Gardner tallied hits on the board for The Rock in the first game too. Junior Courtney Hoffman and Leah Vith, and sophomore Cami Fisk all made it to the bases off of walks but were left on, unable to be scored home.

Gannon led with an early 1-0 lead, and it remained until Mary Taliani drove in three additional runs in the fourth inning. The visitors continued, adding another run in the sixth inning.

The game was ended when DeMatteis worked her way out of the circle in a jam with two on base in the bottom of the sixth inning, forcing three groundouts to seal it.

The second game of the doubleheader matchup ended no differently with another loss, this time 3-1.

Again, Sharman came out on the mound, but this time was relieved by freshman Claire Zimmerman. For Zimmerman, her ERA is sitting at 4.48, and the two combined for an allowed one run in game two. The pair struck out nine.

The effort of both pitchers was not enough to compete with DeMatteis who yielded only one run to round out another successful contest. She added four strikeouts and her team fielded with consistency and effort to complete the second game win.

Villies, Vith, Fisk and Zimmerman all recorded a hit and Hoffman a walk, yet they only tallied one run on the scoreboard.

Sharman suffered the loss with two allowed runs, and one additional unearned run, on five hits and four strikeouts before Zimmerman came to her aid. Her career-high, five batters were struck out.

The Rock led the Golden Knights 1-0 off a throwing error that scored Villies early on. The lone run would be The Rock’s only between both matchups. Slippery Rock left eight runners stranded on bases over the remainder of the other six innings in game two.

Gannon would knot the game up in the second and took control by extending the lead to 3-1 by the sixth frame. Finally, DeMatteis secured a W  by retiring seven of the final eight batters within the Rock lineup.

For Gannon, Lily Gfeller had a great game offensively going 2-for-3 with an RBI double, as well as Lea Coffman with another RBI double.

A second doubleheader was played Tuesday, as Slippery Rock traveled to the Gannon, where it was again swept.

The outcome was no different at The McConnell Family Stadium in Erie, as The Rock pinned two more losses to their record. Game one was a bit closer with a final score of 4-2, however, the hosts overcame Slippery Rock, 6-2, in game two to complete the sweep.

Freshman infielder Mackenzie Freeman, sophomore Erin Gardner, Hutchinson and Fisk held The Rock offense together. Freeman slammed the first home run of her collegiate career in game one, while Hutchinson and Gardner each went 3-for-5 over the two games. Fisk added a homer, too, in the second game, going 2-for-3 with two RBI.

Kelsi Anderson pitched a combined 5.1 innings in relief in both doubleheaders, allowing two earned hits and having six strikeouts.

In game one, Freeman cut the lead to only two runs with her home run, but that wasn’t enough to close the gap. Freeman had each of The Rock’s RBI

In her third consecutive complete game, DeMatteis stayed strong for Gannon and put away the final four batters to secure the 4-2 win.

On the opposing side, Slippery Rock’s Sharman added a second loss to her record before Anderson came in to relieve her. Sharman held down the mound in her innings played, allowing 3 earned runs out of four totaled.

For Gannon, Kaity Stocker went 1-for-3 with a two-run home run while Nicole Bush, Megan Dietrick and Lily Gfeller added hits.

The three runs scored from the Golden Knights over the fourth and fifth innings forced the switch between Sharman and Anderson, who ultimately put a stop to the bats of Gannon.

SRU was able to tally two runs, but it wasn’t enough and the Gannon Knights finished out game one, 4-2.

For the second game sweep, Fisk and Gardner led the offense again for The Rock.

Zimmerman pitched for Slippery Rock, allowing six runs on six hits before Anderson came to her relief.

DeMatteis held down the circle again and had a day, going 3-for-3 with a three-run home run.

Rebecca Tatone retired 15 of the final 17 batters she took up to secure a win for the Knights. Megan Dietrick also added a home run to the board.

Fisk, Hoffman, Gardner and Vith all led the Slippery Rock offense in game two. The effort was destroyed when seven runners were left on base in scoring positions.

The next matchup will be against the Clarion Golden Eagles.

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Madison is a junior communication major with a concentration in converged journalism and a minor in sport management. She is an active member of WSRU-TV and is the sports editor of The Rocket. Upon graduation, Madison plans to work in the broadcasting industry and coach volleyball.


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