Pitching, Timely Hitting Lead Softball to Sweep of Geneva
ALTOONA, Pa. – The Penn State Altoona softball team used strong pitching and key hits to help secure a doubleheader sweep of non-conference opponent Geneva College on Friday at Stewart Athletic Field.
The Lions (6-7) pulled out a pair of close victories, prevailing 3-2 in game one before taking game two 4-2. Three different Penn State Altoona pitchers combined to allow just two earned in 14 innings, while the Lions' bats came up with some clutch hits despite being limited to just 10 total hits on the day.
Game One: Penn State Altoona 3, Geneva 2
Trailing 2-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth, Penn State Altoona came up with two runs to take the lead and ultimately pick up the come-from-behind win.
Casey Reese (Cresson, PA/Penn Cambria) tossed a complete game in the circle for Penn State Altoona, recording her third win of the season. In seven innings, the right-hander scattered eight hits, allowed two runs, and walked two while notching five strikeouts.
Alyssa Fisher (Lock Haven, PA/Central Mountain) went 1-for-2 at the plate with a triple, a run batted in, and a walk. Cameryn Feathers (Martinsburg, PA/Central) was also 1-for-2 with a run scored and a walk, and Kristen Hewitt (Coalport, PA/Glendale) was 1-for-1 with the go-ahead RBI.
Brooke Boonie (Petersburg, PA/Juniata Valley) went 1-for-3 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored, and Brooke Colledge (Everett, PA/Everett) was also 1-for-3. Olivia Smith (Martinsburg, PA/Central) drew two walks and scored one run.
Penn State Altoona got a run across with two outs in the bottom of the second. Feathers led off the inning with a base hit through the left side but remained at second base after a pop out and groundout. However, Fisher's triple to right-center drove Feathers in to put the Lions up 1-0.
Geneva tied the score in the fifth, then took the lead in the sixth. Madison Smith's sacrifice fly to center in the fifth plated Sarah Johnson to knot the score 1-1, and in the sixth, an attempted steal of second allowed Julia Hart to score from third on the throw to put the Golden Tornadoes ahead 2-1.
But Penn State Altoona again produced with two outs in the bottom of the sixth to reclaim the lead. Smith led off with a walk, and after two outs, Boonie's double to right scored Smith to make it 2-2. After a walk, Hewitt stepped in as a pinch-hitter and delivered an RBI single to center that drove in Boonie and put the Lions on top, 3-2.
Reese and the Lions kept Geneva off of the scoreboard in the top of the seventh, clinching the game one win.
Game Two: Penn State Altoona 4, Geneva 2
The Lions pulled out another low-scoring victory in the second part of the twinbill.
Fisher got the start in the circle and picked up her third victory of the season, pitching four innings and allowing no earned runs on three hits and one walk while striking out two. Makenzie Lukehart (Utahville, PA/Glendale) pitched three scoreless innings in relief to record her first collegiate save, allowing just two hits and two walks.
Smith led the Lion bats by going 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a stolen base. Reese was 1-for-1 with two RBI and a walk, and Madison Lucas (Philipsburg, PA/Philipsburg-Osceola) went 1-for-3 with two RBI. Fisher went 1-for-3 with a run scored.
The Lions grabbed the early lead by plating a pair in the bottom of the first. Fisher and Smith each reached on singles, then later scored on a two-out single to center by Reese.
Geneva got a run back in the top of the second, when Rachael Cardenas' RBI groundout allowed Hart to score, cutting the Lions' lead to 2-1.
But Penn State Altoona widened its lead with two more runs in the bottom of the third, again coming through in a two-out situation. Smith started the inning with a single up the middle, and Feathers reached on an infield error to put two on. After Reese's sac bunt and a groundout, Lucas singled into center field to score both runners and extend the Lions' advantage to 4-1.
The Golden Tornadoes cut their deficit to two on an RBI single to left from Sidney Young in the top of the fourth. But Penn State Altoona stifled Geneva the rest of the way, forcing the visitors to strand two runners in each of the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings and holding the lead the rest of the way.
Next up, Penn State Altoona will host non-conference opponent Saint Vincent College for a doubleheader on Thursday, March 31, beginning at 3:00 p.m. Those games were originally scheduled to happen tomorrow, Saturday, March 26, but the doubleheader was rescheduled to next Thursday in light of inclement weather in tomorrow's forecast.