Softball opens PSAC play with a split

Category:  Sports
Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019 at 9:31 PM
Softball opens PSAC play with a split by Chris Rosato Jr.
Christopher Rosato Jr.

Edinboro softball had a lot to celebrate last weekend.

The Fighting Scots have already topped their 2018 win total with a sweep at Pitt-Johnstown and a win at Seton Hill Friday. 

In addition, on Monday, the PSAC awarded its weekly pitcher and athlete of the week honors to a pair of Edinboro standouts.

Edinboro surrendered just one run over two games March 27 when they visited the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. Carley Nasca started both games, earning a pair of wins while Amanda Metz closed them out, earning a save in the first contest.

Stolen bases proved important in the team’s 3-1 win over UPJ in the first game. In the second inning, right fielder Cheyenne Bothun stole second before scoring on a Roni Lipinski single. In the fourth, Olivia Jankowski stole second and later scored on a Victoria Allocco single to give Edinboro a 2-0 lead.

Nasca got into some trouble in the fifth, loading the bases with one out. She induced a ground-out for the second out, but the runners advanced, cutting the lead to 2-1. Metz relieved her, escaping the inning with a fly out.

Roni Lipinski doubled to lead off the seventh and came out for pinch runner Abby Sallot. Shannon Gilbert singled up the middle to drive in Sallot for the final run of the game.

Head Softball Coach Dan Gierlak said he was happy to see his team having confidence at the plate.

“I think that the biggest thing is that our kids are feeling pretty good about their swings,” he said. “We keep working on them everyday and making ourselves a little better. When we go up there and attack the ball, we’re as good a hitting team as there is.” 

Edinboro broke out the bats in the second game, scoring 11 runs in five innings. Jankowski and Allocco homered in the third inning to give Edinboro a 4-0 lead. Both sluggers finished the game 3-for-3 with a trio of RBIs.

“UPJ is a good team,” Gierlak said. “(Edinboro’s) pitchers did a great job of keeping their top hitters off the field.”

Riding a four-game win streak, EU then split their conference-opening doubleheader at Seton Hill Friday. 

Nasca earned the win and Metz picked up her fourth save of the season in the team’s 4-2 victory. Nasca’s 3-0 performance over the past week earned her PSAC West Pitcher of the Week honors.

“She is throwing extremely, extremely well,” Gierlak said of the hurler. “She is throwing very, very well and we haven’t given up a lot of runs, which is great...Carley has just been [great] and as a senior that’s what I expect from her, and Amanda too. I think it’s a great combination to have.”

Graduate student Danna Heh’s legs almost earned ‘Boro their first run after getting on with a bunt to start the game. She stole second, but was thrown out trying to score on a Jankowski single to right field. Instead, Brittany Allen singled Jankowski home to give Edinboro the 1-0 lead.

Heh led off the third inning with a triple, scoring when Jankowski grounded out to the second baseman to make it 2-0. With runners on first and second in the fourth inning, Gilbert cleared the bases with a double to cap off Edinboro’s scoring.

All told, Jankowski went 8-for-15 over the team’s four games, helping herself to PSAC West Athlete of the Week honors for the second straight week. She scored five runs with four RBIs over the stretch. She leads the team in doubles, home runs and RBIs.

“She’s one of the best hitters I’ve had here, and a great kid too,” Gierlak said. “She had another good week for us, and you gotta keep her hot. I mean, that’s the key. We get Danna on, move her over, [and if Jankowski] is up, there is a good chance you are going to score.”

Seton Hill threatened in the sixth with the second batter of the inning blasting a two-run home run, but Metz came in and shut the door, earning three strikeouts without giving up a run in two innings of work.

A pair of Seton Hill errors helped Edinboro to their lone run of the second game, but defensive mishaps of their own led to a 2-1 loss in extra innings.

It took a pair of batters for Metz to settle into her first start since March 24. UPJ started their half of the first inning with a slap-bunt single, followed by a double to left field to open the scoring. Metz then sat down the next eight hitters.

“Their [leadoff hitter] can flat out run,” Gierlak said. “That’s who they had up. We had to make some switches on the defensive side. And we kept her off the bases in the first game; the second game we didn’t. And that is what makes them go.”

Jankowski doubled with two outs in the third inning, bringing up Allen, who forced a fielding error on a bunt back to the pitcher. She then forced Seton Hill’s catcher to throw the ball away when she tried to swipe second base on a first-and-third situation, allowing Jankowski to score.

The Griffins failed to get a runner past second base through the seventh. Meanwhile, Bothun was the lone Edinboro player who managed to get to third base before getting stranded in the sixth.

Metz started the eighth inning by giving up a single before exiting in favor of Nasca. Nasca then loaded the bases, and a misplay by Allen at third base resulted in Seton Hill walking off with their first conference win of the season.

Splitting the doubleheader with the Golden Griffins started their conference record at 1-1 heading into Wednesday’s home opener against California.

Christopher Rosato Jr. | sports.spectator@gmail.com

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