Lady Lions End Florida Trip With Split

Photo: Penn State Altoona freshman Emily Strouse pitches during her team's win over Kenyon College on Friday at CenturyLink Sports Complex.
Photo: Penn State Altoona freshman Emily Strouse pitches during her team's win over Kenyon College on Friday at CenturyLink Sports Complex.

FORT MYERS, Fla. – On its last day competing in the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic on Friday, the Penn State Altoona softball team split its doubleheader at the CenturyLink Sports Complex, winning 5-2 over Kenyon College before losing 2-1 to Edgewood College.

"I thought we played the best game of the week against Kenyon in game one today. Another complete win that showed what our capabilities are against a very good team," said Penn State Altoona head coach Joe Merilli. "We did not carry that momentum over to game two and did not make the necessary adjustments at the plate and left too many on base again."

Penn State Altoona (7-5) put together a well-rounded performance in its first game of the day to hand Kenyon (8-3) a loss.

Emily Strouse (Beech Creek, PA/Central Mountain) pitched a complete game to record her second win of the season. In seven innings, the right-hander allowed just four hits, two walks, and one earned run while striking out a pair.

Ellie Leyo (Irvona, PA/Glendale) went 2-for-3 with a run scored, and Olivia Miller (West Newton, PA/Yough) finished 2-for-4 with a run batted in and a run scored. Jessica Willits (Jersey Shore, PA/Jersey Shore) was 1-for-1 with an RBI and two walks.

Penn State Altoona wasted little time getting on the scoreboard, plating two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Miller's two-out RBI single to center got the Lady Lions' first run across, and Meghan Marasti (Harrison City, PA/Penn-Trafford) scored on an error during the next play to make it 2-0.

In the second, Marasti's bases loaded walk brought home Leyo to increase Penn State Altoona's lead to 3-0.

The Lady Lions used two more bases loaded walks to extend their lead in the fifth inning, when back-to-back free passes issued to Willits and Kelsey Bristol (Troy, PA/Troy) upped Penn State Altoona's advantage to 5-0.

Kenyon got on the board in the top of the sixth when Madi Maldonado's RBI groundout and Grace Finn's RBI single cut the Lady Lions' lead to 5-2. But Strouse and her defense kept Kenyon off of the scoreboard for the remainder of the game, wrapping up the three-run win.

Against Edgewood (3-3), Penn State Altoona again got strong pitching, but the Lady Lions were unable to muster enough offense to pull out a win.

Sidney Shultz (Runville, PA/Bald Eagle) pitched a complete game in the loss, going seven innings and allowing two runs on nine hits and one walk.

Penn State Altoona was limited to four hits as a team, with Leyo, Myers, Bristol, and Cassidy Stover (Spring Mills, PA/Penns Valley) each finishing the game with a hit.

The Lady Lions scored the game's first run in the bottom of the first inning, when Myers' based loaded walk allowed Haley Giedroc (Howard, PA/Bald Eagle) to score.

But Edgewood got on the board in the top of the fifth, tying the game on Grace Delleman's RBI single to left-center. The Eagles jumped ahead in the sixth on Sabrina Luedtke's run-scoring triple to left field.

"All in all, it's been a very productive week for our young team," said Merilli. "We are coming home 7-5, and I feel really good about our team as a whole, and our young pitching staff has made great strides going into next week."

With their Florida trip now behind them, the Lady Lions will return to Pennsylvania and resume their schedule on Thursday, March 15, when they will host non-conference opponent Saint Vincent College for a doubleheader beginning at 3:00 p.m. at Stewart Athletic Field.