Softball Suffers Sweep to Penn State Behrend

Photo (by Cory Maines): Freshman Sarah Gearhart pitches during game one of Saturday's doubleheader against Penn State Behrend at Stewart Athletic Field.
Photo (by Cory Maines): Freshman Sarah Gearhart pitches during game one of Saturday's doubleheader against Penn State Behrend at Stewart Athletic Field.

ALTOONA, Pa. – In Saturday's Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Games of the Week, the Penn State Altoona softball team was handed a pair of losses by Penn State Behrend at Stewart Athletic Field.

The Lady Lions (8-8, 1-3 AMCC) lost an extra innings heartbreaker in game one, falling 4-3. In game two, Penn State Behrend (11-7, 4-0 AMCC) used a nine-run inning to prevail 10-1.

"In the first game, I thought we played pretty well. We went into extra innings and just fell short, but we proved to ourselves that we can play with anybody in the conference," said Penn State Altoona head coach Joe Merilli. "I think we'll learn from the experience, and when we get to the playoffs, we'll get another shot."

Game One: Penn State Behrend 4, Penn State Altoona 3 (Final/8 innings)

The Lady Lions found themselves locked in a tight battle with Behrend in the first game of the doubleheader, and after each squad had just one run to show through seven innings, the game proceeded to extras. But Behrend edged Penn State Altoona by one in the eighth, winning by one run.

Sarah Gearhart (McVeytown, PA/Mount Union) pitched a complete game in the loss. In eight innings, she allowed just two earned runs on six hits and one walk while striking out one. Gearhart also had a strong game at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored.

Abby Showers (Philipsburg, PA/Philipsburg-Osceola) was 2-for-4 with two doubles, one run batted in, and one run scored.

Penn State Altoona drew first blood in the bottom of the third inning. After Gearhart led off the frame with a double to left, Showers followed with a double to right-center to score her and put the Lady Lions up 1-0.

A two-out miscue by Penn State Altoona proved costly in the top of the fourth, when an outfield error allowed Mackenzie McIntire to store for Behrend, tying things up 1-1.

With the score still knotted 1-1 after seven complete innings, the game advanced into the eighth, when the international tiebreaker rules took effect.

In the top half of the eight, Behrend plated three runs to jump ahead 4-1. Ashleigh Schmidt scored on a wild pitch to put the visitors on top. Later, Katie Gozzard's RBI double to left-center and AJ Nichols' sacrifice fly to center helped Behrend to a three-run lead.

Penn State Altoona did not go quietly in the bottom of the eighth, however. With Showers on second, Haley Giedroc (Howard, PA/Bald Eagle) singled to put runners at the corners. On the next play, an outfield error allowed Showers to score, and after a passed ball, Olivia Miller's (West Newton, PA/Yough) RBI groundout brought Giedroc home to narrow Behrend's lead to 4-3. But the Lady Lions were unable to get the tying run across, losing by one.

Game Two: Penn State Behrend 10, Penn State Altoona 1 (Final/6 innings)

With the game tied 1-1 through five innings, Behrend used a big nine-run sixth inning to break the game open and win in a run-rule-shortened decision.

Sidney Lewis (Smithmill, PA/Moshannon Valley) started in the circle and took the loss. In five innings of work, she yielded four earned runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out two batters. Brittney Dellaquila (Pottstown, PA/Owen J. Roberts) entered in relief and allowed three earned runs, and Gearhart finished off the day at pitcher by tossing one scoreless inning and allowing just one hit while recording a strikeout.

At the plate, Lewis went 2-for-2 with a double, an RBI, and a walk, and Miller was 2-for-3.

Penn State Altoona plated the game's first run in the bottom of the third, when Lewis' two-out double to left-center brought home Showers. Behrend used a two-out hit to tie the game in the fourth, when Marissa Torretti's RBI single to left made it 1-1.

Behrend broke the flood gates open in the top of the sixth, scoring nine runs on seven hits and two errors to grab a 10-1 lead. Penn State Altoona was unable to score any runs in the bottom half of the inning, and the Lady Lions lost in six innings.

Next up, Penn State Altoona softball will wrap up its homestand this Monday, April 1, when the Lady Lions will host non-conference opponent Chatham University for a doubleheader starting at 3:00 p.m. at Stewart Athletic Field.