College Roundup: Clarion U. Softball Splits DH with UPJ

CUP Softball
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – The Clarion University softball team split a pair of road games with the Pitt-Johnstown Panthers Friday afternoon, losing game one by a score of 7-2 and winning game two by a score of 7-0.

(Photo courtesy of Clarion University Athletics)

The win and loss move the Golden Eagles to 6-36 (2-12 PSAC) on the season. The Blue and Gold will return to action on April 22 when they host IUP for a Saturday doubleheader at Memorial Stadium.

The first game was a tightly contested pitchers duel, with both teams combining for just four hits throughout the game’s first four innings.

Sarah Gossard got the look in the circle for Clarion to start the game, and she did not disappoint. The junior scattered three hits over her first four innings, while walking just three others, however, UPJ managed to chip away through some tough at-bats before eventually getting the dam to burst in the fifth.

A six-run, seven hit bottom of the fifth inning blew the game open for UPJ, who managed to fend off the eventual CU counter-attack to secure the game-one victory 7-2.

While the Golden Eagles offense couldn’t quite muster the power of UPJ in game one, the Clarion bats came back with a vengeance in game two, smacking eight hits en route to a 7-0 thrashing.

Taylor Nonnenberg got the party started in the top of the first, scoring from third after second-basemen Casey Wilcox reached on a throwing error by the UPJ first-basemen. The momentum kept going in the second when Cassidy Runyan smacked a two-run blast of off Pitt starter Melissa Wagner to push Clarion’s lead to 3-0. Brigid Stermel added one more in the fourth that opened up a 4-0 gap.

Clarion would ride things out for two more innings, getting solid pitching from starter Rachel Hoffman to keep the UPJ bats at bay before adding three more runs in the top of the fifth for good measure before cruising to a 7-0 win.

PITT-JOHNSTOWN SWEEP CLARION BASEBALL

BUTLER, Pa. – The Clarion baseball team dropped a close decision in game one before falling by a larger margin in the second game, losing both ends of a doubleheader with Pitt-Johnstown by scores of 3-1 and 16-0, respectively, at Kelly Automotive Park. The Golden Eagles (9-24, 3-15 PSAC West) will seek revenge on the Mountain Cats tomorrow afternoon with games played in Johnstown.

Kane McCall took a hard-luck loss in the first game, giving up three runs – only one earned – in the first inning but then shutting down the Mountain Cats in the ensuing six innings. He struck out four and walked just one.

The Golden Eagles struck back at the Mountain Cats in the bottom of the second inning, benefitting from a bout of wildness from UPJ pitcher Brantley Rice. Dillon Wolbert lined a two-out double to deep right-center and came home when John Finke drove a pitch through the middle of the infield, making it 3-1.

The best chance for Clarion to pull even came in the third inning when Mitch Holmberg hit a one-out single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Tyler Falk reached base on a walk and the pair advanced on the basepaths thanks to a passed ball with two outs. The rally was quashed, though, when Tom Connell struck out to end the inning.

Though the Golden Eagles continued to reach base, they were unable to break through. Another rally in the bottom of the seventh inning was quelled thanks to a batter’s interference call, and Holmberg flew out to end the game.

Unfortunately, things did not go the way of the Golden Eagles in the second game, either. Starter Kyler Mellott gave up seven runs, including a three-run home run in the top of the fourth inning, and the Golden Eagles never recovered momentum. Wolbert, Austin Mike, and Mike Kamenicky all contributed hits in the loss.

PITT SOFTBALL FALLS IN EXTRA INNINGS

PITTSBURGH – The University of Pittsburgh softball team couldn’t hold off a late surge by NC State, falling 13-10 in eight innings Friday evening at Vartabedian Field.

The Panthers (21-21, 4-15 ACC) twice held six-run leads over the Wolfpack (16-29, 9-7 ACC) but a seventh-inning grand slam by NC State slugger Tyler Ross tied the game before the visitors scored three runs in the eighth to decide the contest.

HOW IT HAPPENED
The Panthers put up a six spot in the opening frame thanks to five hits, a two-run homer by Alexis Solak and two Wolfpack errors.

Olivia Gray got it started with a single to left and Kaitlin Manuel reached on an error after laying down a bunt before Giorgiana Zeremenko doubled to bring home Gray for the first run. A single to right by Alexee Haynes and an error then scored Manuel and Zeremenko to make it 3-0. Haynes crossed home on another single, this time by Valerie Ortega, who reached home herself when Solak smacked her third home run of the season well over the wall in left center to complete Pitt’s scoring in the inning.

NC State responded with three in the top of the third. Tyler Ross hit a two-run home run to get the Wolfpack on the board and the visitors added another when a single by Alyssa Compton scored Jade Caraway.

Pitt pitcher Kayla Harris limited the damage by entering the game with two outs in the third and stranding two Wolfpack runners.

The Panthers traded runs with NC State in the bottom of the fourth and top of the fifth. Manuel singled home Erin Herschman for Pitt’s seventh run, while Alyssa Compton’s single scored Ross for the Wolfpack’s fourth tally.

After Harris got out of bases-loaded jams in the fifth and sixth innings, Pitt added some insurance by posting three-straight solo home runs courtesy of Solak, Hershman and Gray in the bottom of the sixth to extend the lead to 10-4.

The Wolfpack loaded the bases again in the seventh inning. NC State was able to score two runs and leveled the score on a grand slam to left field by Ross.

In the eighth inning, the Wolfpack recorded three runs on a bases-clearing double by Caraway.

The Panthers were unable to respond in the bottom half, falling 13-10.

UP NEXT
Pitt and NC State will return to Vartabedian Field Saturday afternoon for the second game of the series. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. after the Panthers hold their Senior Day ceremonies.

PITT BASEABLL FALLS TO NO. 3 NORTH CAROLINA

PITTSBURGH – The University of Pittsburgh baseball team dropped game one of their series against third-ranked North Carolina, 5-2, Friday at Charles L. Cost Field.

Jacob Wright and Caleb Parry were responsible for the Panthers’ two runs as Pitt fell to the Coastal Division leader in the series opener.

Pitt (16-19 7-12 ACC) recorded five hits during the contest, but North Carolina’s (30-8 15-4 ACC) offense shined as they brought across five runs on 14 hits. On the mound, Josh Mitchell went 4.2 innings, allowing four runs, two earned, on nine hits, striking out six. Sam Mersing and Isaac Mattson combined to throw 4.1 innings in relief. The pair allowed one run on five hits with three strikeouts.

“I thought we definitely took some quality at bats, I thought we had about 11 or 12,” said head coach Joe Jordano. “We had some opportunities. We left some runners on base. The difference in this game was pretty much one play that led to the three-run inning and the fact that North Carolina, when they had opportunities to score, they came up with a big hit. That’s why they’re number three in the county and that’s why they’re in the position that they’re in. They are a very well coached team and a very talented team, but we hung tough. We had opportunities late in the game; we had bases loaded with two outs, first and second with two outs and we just didn’t get that big hit.”

The Panthers got off to a hot start as Wright cranked a solo homer over the wall in right to give the home team a 1-0 lead. Parry followed the homer with a single up the middle, but Pitt was unable to add to its lead in the home half of the inning.

In the third, Mitchell was able to work his way out of trouble, escaping a bases loaded jam. After giving up back-to-back one-out singles and issuing a two-out walk, he was able to get UNC’s cleanup hitter, Kyle Datres, to ground out to third to end the inning.

The Tar Heels put three runs on the board in the top of the fourth. After Brandon Riley led off the inning with a single, the Panthers appeared to have him picked off, but a wild throw allowed the runner to advance to second. A one-out single drove Riley in from second. Carolina again loaded the bases with two outs when Logan Warmoth drove in two with a single up the middle. Mitchell was able to induce a ground to shortstop to end the inning.

Pitt threatened to answer in the bottom half of the inning after Manny Pazos singled with one out and P.J. DeMeo followed with a walk. Alex Amos advanced the runners to second and third on a groundout, but right fielder Nico Papa was unable to strike with runners in scoring position as he grounded out the third.

North Carolina added another run in the fifth when Tyler Lynn delivered a two-out double to drive in a runner from second. After hitting the following batter, Mitchell was replaced by Mersing who was able to coax a fly ball to center field to escape further damage.

The Tar Heels struck again in the seventh. Lynn again came through for UNC, driving a single through the right side to bring home Datres from third. The following at bat, Mersing forced a groundball to third, inducing a rundown between third and home when Pazos was able to tag the runner out. UNC’s Ike Freeman grounded out to third to end the inning.

The Panthers got on the board again in the home half of the seventh. Amos got the inning started with a one out single. After Wright drew a two-out walk, Parry singled through the left side to drive in Amos from second. Yaya Chentouf struck out but advanced to first on a passed ball to load the bases. UNC went to the bullpen to bring in Josh Hiatt who was able to induce a grounder to third to end the Panthers rally.

Pitt fell short during their final rally in the bottom of the ninth. Amos drew a walk to start the inning. After back-to-back strikeouts, Parry drew a walk to bring the tying run to the plate. Hiatt was able to strike out the final batter to capture game one of the series.

“As I told my club after the ballgame, regardless of the score of this game, we have to come back hard tomorrow and we know that’s a big challenge,” added Jordano. “North Carolina is such a quality program and they do such a great job. We understand what is in front of us and we just have to prepare ourselves to come out again tomorrow and play another quality game and hope we get those opportunities and take advantage of those opportunities and cash them in.”

UP NEXT
The Panthers will take on North Carolina in game two of the series, Saturday April 22, at 3 p.m. Josh Falk is set to take the mound for Pitt against Luca Dalatri for North Carolina.

PENN STATE SOFTBALL GETS WALK-OFF WIN

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Sophomore Tori Dubois (Mt. Vernon, N.H.) blasted a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning that would give the Penn State softball team its second walk-off win of the week in an 11-9 victory over the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers in a Big Ten Conference game Friday, April 21.

The Nittany Lions tallied 10-or-more hits for the 11th time this season when they tied a season-high 15 against the Scarlet Knights. For the first time in the 2017 season, every player in the Penn State lineup tallied at least one hit against Rutgers with five players tallying 2-or-more hits in the contest, three bringing in 2-or-more runs and three players hitting a home run. Moreover, Penn State notched its third game in the 2017 season in which it won in a walk-off and the second time in this week as it defeated Bucknell 6-5 in eight innings Wednesday, April 19.

Redshirt-sophomore Rebecca Ziegler (Tucson, Ariz.) led Penn State at the plate with three RBIs, including a two-run home run and a triple, while Dubois went 3-for-3 at the plate with two RBIs and scored twice. Freshman Delaney Elling (Washington, Pa.) also brought in two runs for the Nittany Lions on her fourth home run of the season.

Senior Krsitina Brackpool (Valencia, Calif.) moved into sole possession of the No. 9 spot in career home runs in Penn State laurels after blasting a solo shot in the top of the second inning for the Blue and White and senior Shelby Miller (Sugar Land, Texas) ranks fourth all-time with 112 career RBIs after driving one in on two hits.

Sophomore Madison Seifert (Wildwood, Mo.) earned the victory in the circle, throwing the final 3.2 innings in relief, while Marlaina Laubach (Northampton, Pa.) got the start in the circle and Madison Shaffer (New Castle, Pa.) threw 2.1 innings in relief.

Rebecca Hall paced Rutgers with six RBIs on two hits, while Taryn Atlee went 2-for-5 at the plate and scored three runs. Aubrie Levine suffered the loss in the circle, pitching 2.0 innings in relief.

The Scarlet Knights capitalized on two errors in the top of the first inning to bring in two unearned runs and take an early lead over the Blue and White. Rutgers continued to press in the top of the second inning, loading the bases for Hall, who ripped a triple into right field to clear the bases and allow RU to take a 5-0 lead.

Brackpool started to close the gap in the bottom of the second inning when she launched her fourth home run of the season. Gianna Arrizurieta (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) followed it up with an infield single and touched home on a shallow Christa Wagner (Plainville, Mass.) single to the opposite field. With a hitter’s count, Ziegler ripped the second home run of the inning for the Nittany Lions over the center field wall to bring Penn State within one, 5-4, after two complete innings.

A hit batter and a Miller single put runners on first and second in the bottom of the third inning for Elling. The freshman laced a single into left field, bringing in two runs and allowing Penn State to score six unanswered runs and take the 6-5 lead over the Scarlet Knights.

Rutgers took its second lead of the game, scoring multiple runs for the third time when it brought in four runs in the top of the fifth on two hits and one Penn State error to take a 9-6 lead over the Blue and White.

Zielger stepped in with a runner on first base and drove in her third RBI of the game when she tripled into left center field in the bottom of the sixth inning. Sophomore Toni Polk (Niagara Falls, N.Y.) completed the lineup for Penn State hitters when she singled up the middle to score Ziegler from third base. For the second time in the contest, the Nittany Lions came from behind to tie the game at 9-9 heading into the seventh inning.

For the second time in the week, Penn State was forced into extra innings. The Blue and White retired the Scarlet Knights in order in the top of the eighth inning before Polk singled through the infield to put a runner on first with one out in the bottom half of the inning. Dubois stepped in and worked the count to 2-2 before ripping a home run over the center field wall to propel Penn State to an 11-9 victory.

Up Next:
Penn State and Rutgers will continue its three-game series Saturday, April 22 with a 5 p.m. contest at Nittany Lion Softball Park and Beard Field.

NORTHWESTERN TOPS PENN STATE BASEBALL

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State senior Nick Riotto put together his first career four-hit game, but a big sixth inning propelled Northwestern to a 12-5 victory in Big Ten baseball action Friday evening on Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

Riotto (Washington, Pa.) reached base five times going 4-for-4 with a home run, walk, three RBIs and two runs to factor in four of Penn State’s (12-25, 1-9 B1G) five runs in the game. However, Northwestern (15-22, 3-6 B1G) rallied from a 4-1 deficit in the sixth with nine runs.

Both teams posted 12 hits, but Northwestern yielded only three walks to Penn State’s eight. Eight Nittany Lion starters recorded at least one hit while five Wildcat batters had two-hit games.

Penn State jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Riotto led the frame off with a single and he stole second and advanced to third on a one-out single by Sloniger. Designated hitter Brett Davis (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) then laid down a perfectly-placed sacrifice bunt towards first base to plate Riotto and advance catcher Ryan Sloniger (Punxsutawney, Pa.) to second, allowing Sloniger to score on a single hit by third baseman Logan Goodnight (Wheeling, W.Va.) just out of reach of the Wildcat third baseman.

Left fielder Joe Hoscheit doubled down the right line to drive in one in the top of the fourth inning to halve the advantage, but Riotto led off the fourth with a home run to right to restore the two-run advantage, 3-1.

Riotto drove in his second run of the game with a two-out single through the right side in the bottom half of the fourth for a 4-1 advantage, but Northwestern rallied with a nine-run sixth.

The Wildcats sent 12 batters to the plate and scored the runs with just three hits, taking advantage of two errors, four wild pitches and five walks. Right fielder Matt Hopfner hit an RBI-double and Hoscheit hit a two-RBI single to total a team-high three RBIs.

For the final margin, Northwestern added a run each in the top of the seventh and eighth, and Riotto singled home a run for Penn State in the bottom of the seventh.

RHP Tyler Lass (1-0) earned the win with just three pitches. He retired the lone batter he faced to end the fifth inning, and Northwestern took the lead for good in the top of the sixth. LHP Cooper Wetherbee went 4 2/3 innings at the start, allowing four runs on seven hits two walks with four strikeouts.

RHP Sal Biasi went five-plus innings, walking the two batters he faced in the sixth. He finished with seven strikeouts and was charged with three runs on five hits and three walks. He had allowed just one run through the first five. His replacement, RHP Dakota Forsyth (Bethel Park, Pa.) (3-1) was tagged with his first loss of the season.

Saturday (6 p.m.), the Lions will look to White Out the Wildcats, giving away white shakers while supplies last and encouraging fans to wear white. Fans will also receive a limited edition, numbered Penn State Football print that features some of the greatest moments from the thrilling 2016 season, then one number will be chosen during the game to select a lucky fan who will win a football autographed by members of the Blue-White football roster. Sunday (1 p.m.) will be Salute to Service Day, as all Veterans and First Responders can claim up to four free tickets by contacting Steve Christ at 814-272-0208 (additional tickets can be purchased at a discounted rate of $2). The Nittany Lions will wear special “Salute to Service” batting practice tops, and up to 35 selected veterans or first responders will be able to receive one of those shirts right off the back of one of the players. Fans will be able to see first responder vehicles up close in the Porter North Parking Lot in the Touch-A-Truck exhibit.

With many events on campus Saturday, including the Blue-White Game at Beaver Stadium at 3 p.m. and baseball against Northwestern at 6 p.m., fans interested in the baseball game only are encouraged to arrive before 5 p.m. Fans are encouraged to access Lot 44 by heading Northbound on Porter Road and turning into lots south of Beaver Stadium between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. They are also advised to allow plenty of time to get to the field and note that many roads, including Porter Road, will be turned into a one-way exit for football traffic. Gates at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park will open at 4:30 p.m.


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