Slippery Rock grounds Cardinals, overrun by Hilltoppers


Last Tuesday and Wednesday, the Slippery Rock University women’s softball team took on two non-conference competitors from the Mountain East Conference, picking up a pair of victories before being swept the next day.

The Rock (7-17, 5-17 in the PSAC West) first dispatched the Wheeling University Cardinals (8-20, 5-11 in the MEC North) by a score of 4-1 in game one and followed up with a 6-3 victory in game two.

The SRU Softball Complex saw all the action as Erin Gardner went 5-for-7 over the doubleheader span, yielding two RBI, two doubles, and two runs scored in. Cami Fisk went 3-for-7 and Alexa Guglielmino 3-for-6, both with recorded hits throughout the series of games.

From the mound, Kelsi Anderson (2-7, 2.48 ERA) put away 20 out of 21 final batters throughout game one. Claire Zimmerman (3-8, 4.65 ERA) pitched very close to receiving her second complete game in game two.

Slippery Rock took away game one, 4-1, with ten hits in the game. Between the hits, four-runs and the standout lineup, the complete-game effort from Anderson was enough for a win. Anderson also fanned five batters over seven innings of work, only giving up three earned runs.

The Rock offense was led by Regan Hozak who went 1-for-2 with three RBI. Gardner added a double and an RBI also as she went 3-for-4. Combined, Fisk, Guglielmino, Maggie Moore and Courtney Hoffman posted hits on the board. Guglielmino batted in two runners.

For Wheeling, Aubrie Lafferty (1-3, 4.83 ERA) wore the loss after allowing three earned runs on eight hits and one additional unearned run.

Slippery Rock was falling behind to the Cardinals in the second inning, when Hozak, Moore, Guglielmino and Kaitlyn Bowman stepped up and loaded the bases. After a fielding error and a pair of singles, The Rock held the advantage.

The lead was extended in the fourth and sixth frames with multiple insurance runs, sealing the 4-1 victory. In the second matchup, Slippery Rock came out strong to sweep the series with another win, this time 6-3.

Anna Villies had a solid showing in game two, going 3-for-3 with two doubles and two runs scored in. Going 2-for-3, Garnder also hailed a double and an additional RBI. Leah Vith and Lexi Zavarelle each tallied a run scored, while Vith went 2-for-4. Fisk and Guglielmino also doubled.

Chloe Sharman (2-7, 2.48 ERA) finished the series out with a strong performance on the mound. Zimmerman allowed just three runs on eight hitters, earning the win, and striking out four along the way. The 6.1 innings Zimmerman pitched from the circle were successful before she gave way in relief to Sharman. Within the first six innings, Zimmerman didn’t allow a single run, and Sharman followed that up, retiring the remaining two batters for the save.

The Cardinals were guided by Gina Fogle, who went 2-for-3 with a two-RBI double.

Fisk got things going for Slippery Rock when she brought in Villies with a double into left field. The following inning, the lead continued to grow, with Gardner and Villies coming up strong again and extending the run total to six.

Wheeling had their chance to recover in the seventh inning, yet it was just short of enough. The sweep was done and over with.

The next day, Slippery Rock was set to take on another non-conference team, West Liberty University. The Hilltoppers (19-9, 11-5 MEC North) swept The Rock (7-19,5-17 PSAC West) at the SRU Softball Complex.

Game one was a hard-fought, 3-2 loss over nine innings, whereas game two was another loss, but this time 5-2 within six innings.

Slippery Rock’s offense was led by Vith who offered three-RBI, going 2-for-5 over the doubleheader. Guglielmino and Gardner also added three hits per game one and two.

An eventful nine-inning game took place as SRU rallied to keep the game going into extra frames. Both pitchers, Kelsi Anderson (2-7, 2.32 ERA) and Mackenzie Amend, battled back-and-forth until Amend pulled away a win. Bennington allowed two unearned runs over the final three innings as relief to Amend.

West Liberty held a one-run advantage going into the seventh inning, but Bowman forced out extra innings. Soon after, the Hilltoppers regained power over The Rock in the eighth and Vith wasn’t ready to go home yet. Her sacrifice fly scored Regan Hozak sending the game into nine innings.

Laura Saunders’ RBI double put them ahead 3-2 for the victory, as Riley Bennington (8-3, 1.04 ERA) retired the remaining batters. Sanders was 3-for-5 with a double and Katie Beeman added a double also, going 1-for-3.

Anderson and Sharman put in a combined effort from the circle, Anderson allowing two runs and Sharman giving up the go-ahead run to take the loss in the last 1.2 innings. It was successful for Anderson, who stranded nine Hilltoppers on base, struck out six, and only one earned a run on the day.

Moore, Courtney Hoffman, Gardner and Guglielmino each were successful at the plate, with at least one hit each in game one. Vith and Bowman led this offense and kept them fighting the whole time.

West Liberty took away game one, 3-2, but their work wasn’t finished as they had another competition immediately after.

Slippery Rock held a one-run lead going into the fifth. However, West Liberty scored five runs in the same frame and Annie Patterson (5-3, 1.31 ERA) secured the win and stranded runners on base for the 5-2 victory.

SRU’s offense was led again by Vith, going 2-for-2 with two-RBI, and Gardner who added two runs also, going 2-for-4. Guglielmino was also a standout performer in game two, batting 2-for-3 in the second game.

Sharman took the loss from the mound after she allowed six hits and four runs over 4.2 innings of work. She was relieved by Zimmerman who allowed just one run over the remainder of the matchup. Patterson gave up just two runs, one earned, while striking out give for the complete game for West Liberty.

Kat Donzella’s effort and her two-run homerun, along with Allie Cook’s double, paced a smooth way to a victory for the Hilltoppers.

Vith fought back with a sacrifice-fly that led The Rock 1-0 in the third, but five runs from West Liberty in the sixth finished it out. Due to darkness on the field, the game was stopped in the sixth inning.

Slippery Rock faced off with Clarion in a pair of doubleheaders later in the week.


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