FORT MYERS, Fla. – In its third day playing in the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic, the Penn State Altoona softball team posted a 3-0 win over Clark University before losing 4-1 to Waynesburg University at CenturyLink Sports Complex.
In its victory over Clark, Penn State Altoona (4-4) was propelled by a stellar pitching performance from Sidney Shultz (Runville, PA/Bald Eagle). In the loss to Waynesburg, the Lady Lions were unable to come up with key hits.
"I thought we played pretty well overall today. Now we need to take the next step and get a couple sweeps down here instead of splits. Sidney Shultz turned in a marvelous performance in game one with a one-hitter, and our defense played error-free. When we get that kind of effort, we should win games," said Penn State Altoona head coach Joe Merilli. "We are still leaving too many runners on base offensively, but we are starting to hit the ball harder as a team. Some of our young players like Ellie Leyo, Meghan Marasti, and Kaitlyn Harmon are really starting to contribute both offensively and defensively. Emily Strouse is really coming on in the circle."
Shultz tossed a complete game, one-hit shutout in Penn State Altoona's win over Clark (4-5). The right-hander earned her second victory of the season, allowing four walks, one hit, and no runs while striking out five batters.
The Lady Lions got all three of their runs in the bottom of the third inning. Ellie Leyo (Irvona, PA/Glendale) led off the frame with a walk, Showers followed with a base hit up the middle, and one batter later, Meghan Marasti (Harrison City, PA/Penn-Trafford) also singled up the middle to load the bases. The next batter, Emily Strouse (Beech Creek, PA/Central Mountain), brought in the game's first run with a groundout. After that, Marasti scored on a wild pitch and Harmon followed with an RBI single up the middle to make it 3-0.
In the Lady Lions' loss to Waynesburg (5-1), Showers had two of her team's five hits, going 2-for-3 at the plate. Marasti finished 1-for-3 with a double and a run scored, and Jenna Myers (Garnet Valley, PA/Garnet Valley) accounted for her team's lone RBI.
Faith Barnett (Todd, PA/Tussey Mountain) was handed the loss in the circle for Penn State Altoona, starting the game and pitching three innings while yielding two earned runs. Strouse followed with four scoreless innings in relief, allowing just three hits.
Waynesburg put a three-spot on the board in the top of the second inning. Rachel Skon's RBI single got the first run across for the Yellow Jackets, and Ashley Dubovich scored on a throwing error to make it 2-0. Waynesburg plated its third run of the inning when Skon scored on a wild pitch.
Another Penn State Altoona error led to a Waynesburg run in the fourth, when a throwing error allowed Hannah Batovsky to score and make it 4-0.
The Lady Lions tried to rally in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Marasti doubled and Harmon singled to put runners at the corners. Myers followed with a groundout to third base that drove in Marasti. Leyo's pinch hit single to left again put runners at the corners, but Penn State Altoona was unable to put up any more runs.
Next up, Penn State Altoona softball will play another pair of games in the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic tomorrow, Thursday, March 8 at the CenturyLink Sports Complex. The Lady Lions will take on Rivier College at 9:00 a.m. on Field #1 before going up against Albion College at 11:00 a.m. on Field #4.