BRIDGEWATER, Va. – The Penn State Altoona softball team got its 2019 season schedule started on the road Tuesday afternoon, suffering 8-0 and 9-1 losses to non-conference opponent Bridgewater College at Fulk Field.
The Lady Lions (0-2) struggled to find consistency in their first outdoor outing of the season.
"Getting outside was good today, but you could really see the difference between being outside for three or four weeks to just getting on dirt for the first time," said Penn State Altoona head coach Joe Merilli. "I thought we did some good things, but we need to get a lot cleaned up. We have the talent to be a really good team, and we need to work together to make it happen."
Game One: Bridgewater 8, Penn State Altoona 0 (F/6 innings)
Bridgewater (2-0) jumped out to a big lead early in the game, putting five runs on the board in the bottom of the second inning. Penn State Altoona's bats were unable to make up for the deficit, and the Lady Lions fell 8-0.
Abby Showers (Philipsburg, PA/Philipsburg-Osceola) went 1-for-2 at the plate with a walk, while Meghan Marasti (Pittsburgh, PA/Penn-Trafford) and Jessica Willits (Jersey Shore, PA/Jersey Shore) also both went 1-for-2.
Sarah Gearhart (McVeytown, PA/Mount Union) and Jayde Burge (Philipsburg, PA/Philipsburg-Osceola) each made their first collegiate appearances in the circle for Penn State Altoona. Gearhart got the start, pitching four innings and taking the loss. Burge tossed 1 2/3 innings in relief with one strikeout.
Bridgewater scored the game's first runs in the second inning, plating five runs with two outs. After two base hits and a walk loaded the bases, Lindsey Talley's two-run double put the Eagles on the scoreboard. Torie Shifflett followed with a two RBI single, and one batter later, Katrina Martin drove in a run with her single that made it 5-0.
The Eagles made it 7-0 in the bottom of the fifth, getting an RBI triple from Kaitlyn Tirona and a sacrifice fly from Allison Patrick. Bridgewater invoked the eight-run rule in the bottom of the sixth, when Patrick drew a bases-loaded walk to end the game early in favor of the home team.
Game Two: Bridgewater 9, Penn State Altoona 1
Penn State Altoona got on the board early, but it was not enough to hold off a Bridgewater offense that followed its eight-run game one output by scoring nine runs in the nightcap.
Marasti went 2-for-2 at the plate with one double. Showers was 1-for-3 with a double and a run scored, and Brittney Dellaquila (Pottstown, PA/Owen J. Roberts) went 1-for-2 with a run batted in. Haley Giedroc (Howard, PA/Bald Eagle) accounted for Penn State Altoona's other hit, going 1-for-2.
Two more first-year pitchers made their collegiate debuts in the circle for Penn State Altoona, as Dellaquila and Sidney Lewis (Smithmill, PA/Moshannon Valley) each saw time for the Lady Lions. Dellaquila started the game, taking the loss after pitching four innings and striking out one batter. Lewis tossed 2/3 inning in relief.
The Lady Lions plated their first run of the season in the top of the first inning. Showers led off the frame with a double and scored one batter later on Dellaquila's RBI base hit.
But Bridgewater responded right away, getting three runs across in the bottom half of the first. With two runners on, Sarah Wimer tripled to put the Eagles up 2-1. During the next at-bat, Wimer scored on a wild pitch to give her team a two-run advantage.
Penn State Altoona defensive miscues helped produce a run for Bridgewater in the second inning. Morgan Landes doubled for the Eagles, advanced to third on an outfield error, then scored on an infield error during the same play to make it 4-1.
Landes' two-out RBI triple in the fourth inning increased Bridgewater's lead to 5-1.
In the fifth, Bridgewater ended the game via the eight-run rule by getting four runs across with two outs. Carlita Tibbs' RBI single made it 6-1, and Keirsten Kennedy scored on an infield error. Katrina Martin's two-run triple made it 9-1, icing the game for Bridgewater.
Penn State Altoona's next games will occur in the state of Florida, as the Lady Lions will travel to the Fort Myers area during spring break week to compete in the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic for the second straight year. The team is scheduled to play a total of 10 games against several non-conference Division III softball teams from around the country, with the first games of the week happening on Sunday, March 3 against Elms College at 9:00 a.m. and Albion College at 1:00 p.m.