FORT MYERS, Fla. – Penn State Altoona softball faced its second day of competition in the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic on Monday, and the Lady Lions lost 6-3 to Geneva College before breaking out with a 21-11 victory over Anna Maria College at CenturyLink Sports Complex.
In its first game of the day, Penn State Altoona (3-3) struggled to come up with hits in key situations in a three-run loss to Geneva. But the Lady Lions bounced back in a big way in the nightcap of Monday's doubleheader, putting up 21 runs and 17 hits in a win over Anna Maria.
"I thought after having the same issues in game one against Geneva, we finally broke out and hit the ball like we thought we would from the beginning," said Penn State Altoona head coach Joe Merilli. "We saw a lot of really good things from a lot of players offensively. We still have a lot of work to do on the trip, but game two today was a good start."
Meghan Marasti (Harrison City, PA/Penn-Trafford) had two of Penn State Altoona's five hits in the team's first game of the day, going 2-for-4 with a double and a run batted in during her team's loss to Geneva. Abby Showers (Philipsburg, PA/Philipsburg-Osceola) was 1-for-1 with three runs scored and a stolen base.
Sidney Shultz (Runville, PA/Bald Eagle) started in the circle for the Lady Lions and was handed her first loss of the season. Emily Strouse (Beech Creek, PA/Central Mountain) pitched 4 2/3 innings in relief, recording a season-high six strikeouts while allowing just one earned run.
Penn State Altoona scored first, plating a run in the top of the first inning on Marasti's RBI double down the left field line.
But Geneva (1-0) used a four-run bottom of the second to get out in front. Haley Sainato's RBI single to left tied the game, and Kyleigh Jo Ward drew a bases loaded walk to put the Golden Tornadoes up 2-1. Ashley Grow's two-run, two-out ground ball single up the middle extended Geneva's lead to 4-1.
Showers helped get a run back for Penn State Altoona in the top of the third inning. After the Lady Lions were caught stealing at second base, Showers – who was at third base on the play – broke for home and beat the tag to score and narrow Geneva's lead to 4-2.
The Lady Lions made it a one-run game in the fifth when Emily Prather (Philadelphia, PA/MaST Community Charter) drove in Showers with her single down the left field line.
But Geneva padded its lead in the sixth, scoring a pair of runs to increase its lead back to three. Sainato led off the inning with a bunt hit, stole second, reached third on Ward's single, then scored on a fielding error during the play. Ward moved up to third base on the error and scored on the next play, when Marina Manuppelli singled to left.
In the night game against Anna Maria (0-4), Penn State Altoona produced 21 runs – the eighth-most runs scored in a game in Lady Lions softball history.
Haley Giedroc (Howard, PA/Bald Eagle) went 4-for-5 with a double, two RBI, and four runs scored. Marasti batted a perfect 3-for-3 with two doubles, four RBI, three runs scored, and a pair of walks.
Kaitlyn Harmon (Sunbury, PA/Shikellamy) posted a 2-for-3 performance with two doubles, two RBI, three runs scored, and a walk. Ellie Leyo (Irvona, PA/Glendale) went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored, and Cassidy Stover (Spring Mills, PA/Penns Valley) was 2-for-2 with an RBI. Shultz finished with three RBI.
Faith Barnett (Todd, PA/Tussey Mountain) started in the circle and pitched a total of four innings to grab her second victory of the season. Bristol made her collegiate pitching debut, tossing one inning in relief.
In the top of the first, Penn State Altoona scored runs on Strouse's RBI single through the right side and a wild pitch that brought Marasti home.
The Lady Lions broke the game open with a six-run top of the second. Leyo's sacrifice bunt resulted in a fielding error that allowed Harmon to score. Later, Showers scored on a wild pitch, Olivia Miller (West Newton, PA/Yough) was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to bring in Giedroc, and Shultz's double into the left-center gap cleared the bases, driving in three runs.
Penn State Altoona increased its lead to 10-0 in the third on Marasti's two-run double to left.
After Anna Maria put five runs on the board in the bottom of the third, Penn State Altoona posted its second six-run inning of the game, scoring all six runs with two outs. Barnett drew a walk and later came around to score on a wild pitch, and Shiona Lonesky (Sasebo, Japan/E.J. King) drove in two more runs with her double to left-center. RBI singles from Giedroc and Stover, along with a run-scoring double by Marasti, made it 16-5.
The Amcats got three runs in the bottom half of the fourth, but the Lady Lions added five more runs to their total in the top of the fifth. Harmon doubled to left to bring in two runs, and Leyo followed with an RBI single up the middle. Giedroc's RBI double down the left field line and Marasti's RBI single to left-center upped Penn State Altoona's lead to 21-8.
Penn State Altoona softball is off tomorrow, but the Lady Lions will return to action in the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic on Wednesday, March 7 with a pair of games. The team will play Clark University at 9:00 a.m. before taking on Waynesburg University at 11:00 a.m. Both games will be played at CenturyLink Sports Complex on Field #4.