GREENSBURG, Pa. – Penn State Altoona softball split Wednesday afternoon's Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference doubleheader at Pitt-Greensburg, winning 9-5 in game one before being edged 11-10 in the nightcap.
Penn State Altoona (11-9, 2-2 AMCC) had an exceptional day at the plate, totaling 20 runs in the doubleheader.
"If we continue to hit the ball like we did today, we will be fine," said Penn State Altoona head coach Joe Merilli. "We just need to regain confidence in the circle, which I have no doubt we will get done."
In game one, Meghan Marasti (Harrison City, PA/Penn Trafford) went 3-for-5 with two runs batted in and two runs scored for the Lady Lions, while Haley Giedroc (Howard, PA/Bald Eagle) was 2-for-3 with a double, two RBI, two runs scored, and a walk.
Kelsey Bristol (Troy, PA/Troy) batted 2-for-4 with a run scored, and Abby Showers (Philipsburg, PA/Philipsburg-Osceola) was 2-for-5 with an RBI. Olivia Miller (West Newton, PA/Yough) finished with three RBI, and Jenna Myers (Garnet Valley, PA/Garnet Valley) had three runs scored.
Emily Strouse (Beech Creek, PA/Central Mountain) pitched a complete game to pick up her fifth win of the season, improving her record in the circle to 5-2. The right-hander yielded five runs in seven innings, striking out two batters.
Marasti's RBI single in the top of the first put Penn State Altoona on the board. In the top half of the third, another Marasti RBI base hit doubled her team's advantage. Giedroc's RBI single and a Pitt-Greensburg error helped the Lady Lions go ahead 4-0.
After the Lady Bobcats scored four runs in the bottom of the third to tie the game, Myers' RBI double to center put Penn State Altoona back on top. Giedroc's RBI groundout and Miller's run-scoring base hit up the middle made it 7-4.
The teams traded runs in the sixth, with Penn State Altoona getting its run courtesy of Miller's sacrifice that brought home Giedroc. Showers' RBI single to center in the seventh capped the scoring, giving her team a 9-5 lead.
In game two, Penn State Altoona came out on the short end of a high scoring affair.
Giedroc led the Lady Lions at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a home run, a double, five RBI, two runs scored, and a walk. Showers batted 2-for-3 with two walks, an RBI, and a run scored, and Myers was 2-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. Bristol finished the game a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with one walk.
Jessica Willits (Jersey Shore, PA/Jersey Shore) and Miller each hit their first collegiate home runs.
Sidney Shultz (Runville, PA/Bald Eagle) got the start in the circle and took the loss, pitching 5 2/3 innings. Strouse pitched 1/3 inning in relief.
Penn State Altoona grabbed a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Giedroc's two-run single to center started the scoring, and Willits' two-run homer doubled the Lady Lions' lead.
After Pitt-Greensburg countered with two runs in the bottom of the second, Penn State Altoona plated three in the top half of the third on Miller's two-run home run and Showers' RBI single that scored Kaitlyn Peck (Hanover, PA/South Western) to make it 7-2.
But the Lady Bobcats scored two more in the third, then plated another pair of runs in the fourth to cut Penn State Altoona's lead to 7-6.
In the top of the sixth, Giedroc's three-run homer, her first of the season, boosted her team's advantage to 10-6.
But Penn State Altoona was ultimately sunk by a five-run bottom of the sixth by Pitt-Greensburg, a rally that gave the home team an 11-10 lead.
Lady Lions softball continues its schedule tomorrow, Thursday, April 12, when it travels to nearby non-conference opponent Juniata College for a doubleheader starting at 3:00 p.m.