ALTOONA, Pa. – Penn State Altoona softball hosted its first doubleheader of the season at Stewart Athletic Field on Monday afternoon against non-conference opponent Saint Vincent College, and the Lady Lions were swept by scores of 3-1 and 2-0.
Penn State Altoona (9-7) got mostly strong pitching and defense in both games of the twinbill, but the Lady Lions struggled to come up with the big hit, leaving a total of 16 runners on base by the end of the day.
"We played about as good as we could have in the circle and in the field against a quality team," said Penn State Altoona head coach Joe Merilli. "St. Vincent has been scoring a lot of runs, and to hold them to three runs and two runs is a credit to our pitchers and defense. Now, we just need to get those key hits and not strand so many runners."
In game one, the Lady Lions got a strong complete game effort in the circle from Emily Strouse (Beech Creek, PA/Central Mountain). The righty pitched seven innings, yielding three runs on nine hits and one walk while striking out two batters.
Meghan Marasti (Harrison City, PA/Penn-Trafford) had two of her team's six hits, going 2-for-3. Olivia Miller (West Newton, PA/Yough) and Abby Showers (Philipsburg, PA/Philipsburg-Osceola) each had a double, and Ellie Leyo (Irvona, PA/Glendale) had the Lady Lions' lone run batted in.
St. Vincent (9-3) got on the board first, using Victoria Culver's two-out, two-run double to left-center to jump on top 2-0 in the top of the second inning.
Penn State Altoona also capitalized with two outs to score its only run of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning. With two outs, Kelsey Bristol (Troy, PA/Troy) reached on a throwing error by the shortstop and moved up to second base on the play. In the next at-bat, Leyo singled in Bristol to cut the Lady Lions' deficit to 2-1.
St. Vincent got that run back in the top of the fifth when Alona Sleith's sacrifice fly helped the Lady Bearcats expand their lead to 3-1, which ultimately stood as the final score.
In game two, Penn State Altoona again received a solid performance in the pitching circle. Sidney Shultz (Runville, PA/Bald Eagle) pitched a complete game, giving up two runs on six hits and two walks in seven innings of work. The right-hander struck out four batters.
Penn State Altoona outhit St. Vincent 9-6, with Marasti again leading the way by going 3-for-3 with a double. Jessica Willits (Jersey Shore, PA/Jersey Shore) batted 2-for-3 with a double, and Haley Giedroc (Howard, PA/Bald Eagle) was 2-for-4 with a double.
The Lady Lions were able to get runners into scoring position in all but two innings, but they could not come up with the big hit to bring the runs home.
St. Vincent scored the only two runs of the game in the top of the sixth inning. With two outs, Morgan Murphy broke the scoreless tie when she scored from third on a wild pitch. Emily Duerr followed with an RBI single down the left field line, putting the Lady Bearcats up 2-0.
Scheduling Note: Penn State Altoona softball's home doubleheader against non-conference foe Westminster College, scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday, March 20, has been postponed due to the expectation of snow. The games have been rescheduled to Thursday, April 12 and will start at 3:00 p.m. at Stewart Athletic Field.
The Lady Lions' next scheduled games are at home this Thursday, March 22 against non-conference opponent Chatham University. Game one is slated to start at 3:00 p.m.