FORT MYERS, Fla. – Penn State Altoona softball stayed hot in the sunshine state on Thursday, defeating Kenyon College 8-7 and Drew University 8-3 at CenturyLink Sports Complex in the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic.
Penn State Altoona (6-4) has now won five games in a row, posting a 6-2 record on its Florida trip. The Lady Lions will be in search of two more wins in the last day of the trip tomorrow.
"We played really well today again to get our fourth and fifth wins in a row. I am really pleased the way this team has come together after some adversity at the start of the season," said Penn State Altoona head coach Joe Merilli. "Our pitching has really picked it up, and our hitting has been so consistent. We are looking forward to finishing really good spring games tomorrow and heading back home with a winning record and getting our Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference season started."
Game One: Penn State Altoona 8, Kenyon College 7
Penn State Altoona came back from a 7-4 deficit, scoring four runs in the bottom of the sixth to jump ahead and prevail 8-7.
Meghan Marasti (Pittsburgh, PA/Penn-Trafford) went 3-for-4 with two runs batted in and two runs scored. OIivia Miller (West Newton, PA/Yough) was 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI, a run scored, and a walk. Haley Giedroc (Howard, PA/Bald Eagle) went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Sidney Lewis (Smithmill, PA/Moshannon Valley) started at pitcher and went six innings to record her second win of the season. Brittney Dellaquila (Pottstown, PA/Owen J. Roberts) tossed a scoreless seventh inning to record her first collegiate save.
Penn State Altoona scored runs in the third and fourth innings to secure an early 2-0 lead. Marasti's RBI single through the left side in the third put her team on the board, and Jayde Burge's (Philipsburg, PA/Philipsburg-Osceola) RBI grounder in the fourth scored Miller to make it a two-run game.
Kenyon (6-1) put together a five-run top of the fifth inning to go ahead. Britny Patterson's two-run triple tied the game, and Nicole Bishay's flyout produced a run to make it 3-2. Emily Buckwalter and Olivia Hurley added RBI hits later in the frame to increase their squad's lead to three.
Penn State Altoona got two runs back in the bottom half of the fifth on Lewis' two-run base hit up the middle, cutting Kenyon's lead to 5-4.
Kenyon answered with two runs in the top of the sixth on Sara Campagna's two-run double to left-center.
But the Lady Lions put four runs on the board in the bottom half of the sixth to grab the lead. Marasti and Giedroc each collected RBI singles to cut Kenyon's lead to one, and Abby Showers (Philipsburg, PA/Philipsburg-Osceola) scored on an error to tie the game. Miller's bases loaded walk brought Marasti home, giving Penn State Altoona an 8-7 lead.
Game Two: Penn State Altoona 8, Drew University 3
The Lady Lions used a balanced effort to record a strong win, totaling 10 hits at the plate while getting a solid complete game performance in the circle.
Showers headlined the Lady Lions' hitters, going 2-for-4 with an RBI, a run scored, and a stolen base. With her two hits, Showers has now eclipsed the 100-hit mark for her collegiate softball career.
Jessica Willits (Jersey Shore, PA/Jersey Shore) was 2-for-4 with a double, two RBI, a run scored, and a stolen base.
Burge pitched a complete game to improve her season record to 2-0, going seven innings and allowing eight hits, two walks, and just one earned run while striking out four batters. She also helped her own cause at the plate, hitting 2-for-4 with one run scored.
Penn State Altoona got four runs across in the top of the first inning to stake out an early lead. Marasti's double to center made it 1-0, and she later scored on an error to double her team's lead. Miller's sac fly to center made it 3-0, and Lewis scored on another error to give her team a four-run advantage.
After Drew (3-5) had cut Penn State Altoona's lead to 4-3 by the end of the fifth inning, the Lady Lions created some more space for themselves on the scoreboard by scoring two runs in the sixth and two in the seventh. In the sixth, Showers' RBI single to center got things started, and Cassidy Stover (Spring Mills, PA/Penns Valley) came home on an error. In the seventh, Willits' double plated two more runs to extend Penn State Altoona's lead to 8-3.
Penn State Altoona softball closes out its Florida trip tomorrow, Friday, March 8, with two more games in the Cusic Classic at North Collier Regional Park in Naples. The Lady Lions will start their day with a 9:00 a.m. game against Drew University, followed by an 11:00 a.m. matchup with Albion College.