Fighting Scots drop 2 to Cal U

Category:  Sports
Wednesday, April 25th, 2018 at 5:59 PM

On Monday, the Edinboro softball team dropped two games to California University of Pennsylvania by eight-run margins in five innings.

Though the games were held at Edinboro University, the Vulcans played as the home team as their field is currently undergoing renovations.

Edinboro got off to a slow start and only mustered two hits in the first loss. Their first came when Danna Heh led off with a base hit to left field, but it was negated when she was caught trying to steal second.

An error by Edinboro shortstop Courtney Allen with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the first inning allowed the first two runs of the game to score. Starting pitcher Kerri Stevens then gave up a three-run home run to California’s Kaylyn Roose to give the Vulcans a five-run lead after one completed inning.

Brittany Allen smacked a solo home run in the second inning to give Edinboro their second and final hit and only run of the game.

Vulcans pitcher Emilee Downing earned 10 strikeouts in just five innings of complete-game work, including retiring the last 11 Edinboro batters in a row. Her record improved to 5-3.

California scored two runs in both the third and fourth innings to lead 9-1. They didn’t need to bat in the fifth due to the eight-run rule.

Only the last two Vulcan runs were earned for Stevens, who walked six batters with two strikeouts in four innings of work. She is now 1-7.

Edinboro jumped out to a three-run lead in the first inning of the second game, but lost control of the contest to lose 12-4 in five frames.

Cleanup hitter Olivia Jankowski lived up to her role when she crushed a three-run home run to deep left field to give the Fighting Scots a 3-0 lead to start the game. 

Edinboro would be held hitless after that until the fifth inning.

In the home half of the first inning, California jumped on Edinboro starter Amanda Metz early, capitalizing on defensive errors to earn a convincing lead. Metz started her inning with a four-pitch walk, base hit and a hit batter to load the bases with no outs for California’s Jacquelyn Fowler, who hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score their first run of the game. 

A passed ball through the legs of Edinboro catcher Roni Lipinski, with runners on the corners, added another tally to the home team’s score. With runners on first and second in the same inning, Jankowski then let a ball go through her legs to turn a routine base hit into a run-scoring hit.

Edinboro Head Softball Coach Dan Gierlak blamed his team’s mistakes in seemingly routine situations on the region’s poor weather this year. The team has been forced to practice mostly indoors, where the surface creates ground balls that bounce differently than those on dirt or grass surfaces. He said the players expect ground balls to behave how they do in practice and haven’t been able to play outdoors enough to adjust to the different playing surfaces fully.

Later on, with runners on second and third, California’s Taylor Robblee popped up down the first base line to shallow right field, but second baseman Heather Barrett couldn’t chase it down and then overthrew second base trying to nab Robblee, allowing the other two runners to score. Brooke Wilson doubled in her second at-bat of the inning to boost the Vulcans to a 7-3 lead.

Neither team earned another hit until a five-run California fourth inning capped by a grand slam put the Vulcans up 12-3 heading into the fifth inning.

Needing two runs to keep the game going, Edinboro tried to put together some offense, but couldn’t muster enough to stay alive.

After scoring one run, the Fighting Scots found themselves with runners on first and second with two outs when Jankowski stepped to the plate. It looked like she might repeat her performance from her first at-bat, when she drilled a line drive down the third base line, but it hooked foul before clearing the fence. 

The Vulcans brought Robblee in to pitch with two strikes on Jankowski and got her swinging to end the threat.

Vulcans starter Carly Konopka earned the win, improving to 6-3, while Metz fell to 2-6 with the complete game loss.

After rain and snow washed out most of the beginning of their softball season, Edinboro is in the middle of a modified schedule that has them playing their final seven doubleheaders in just 10 days in order to finish before conference playoffs begin May 2. Gierlak said the team and its limited pitching staff are beginning to show signs of fatigue.

“Our conference is tough,” Gierlak said. “We make a play here or a play there [and] it’s a different ballgame.”

With the pair of losses, Edinboro fell to 5-20 overall and 1-11 in PSAC West competition. They travel to Mercyhurst Thursday before heading to Gannon Friday. 

Christopher Rosato Jr. can be reached at sports.spectator@gmail.com

Tags: sports, softball

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