ALTOONA, Pa. – Penn State Altoona softball split Friday afternoon's Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference doubleheader with La Roche College, losing 16-9 in game one before bouncing back to claim a 1-0 victory in game two at Stewart Athletic Field.
In game one, Penn State Altoona (15-10-1, 5-3 AMCC) had a strong performance at the plate, but the Lady Lions were plagued by inconsistency on with pitching and defense.
Kelsey Bristol (Troy, PA/Troy) was 3-for-4 with a run batted in and a run scored for Penn State Altoona. Abby Showers (Philipsburg, PA/Philipsburg-Osceola) went 2-for-3 with a double, two runs scored, and an RBI.
Olivia Miller (West Newton, PA/Yough) was 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored, Haley Giedroc (Howard, PA/Bald Eagle) was also 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, and Jessica Willits (Jersey Shore, PA/Jersey Shore) went 2-for-4 with a run scored. Meghan Marasti (Harrison City, PA/Penn Trafford) finished with a team-high two RBI.
Sidney Shultz (Runville, PA/Bald Eagle) got the start in the circle and took the loss, pitching 3 2/3 innings and giving up two earned runs. Faith Barnett (Todd, PA/Tussey Mountain) pitched 2/3 inning in relief, and Ellie Leyo (Irvona, PA/Glendale) tossed 2 2/3 innings after that.
Penn State Altoona scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning on Marasti's RBI single to shortstop and Giedroc's run-scoring groundout. After Kelsey Bayer's RBI double for La Roche (13-9, 7-3 AMCC) in the top of the second, the Lady Lions got an RBI single up the middle from Bristol to make it 3-1.
Penn State Altoona added a run to its lead in the third when Giedroc scored on an error.
But La Roche exploded for 10 runs in the top of the fourth inning, including Aubrietta Martin's three-run double to right-center and Devan Smith's three-run single down the right field line. The Lady Redhawks led 10-4 after their half of the inning.
Showers' sacrifice fly to left field plated a run for Penn State Altoona in the bottom of the fourth, but La Roche came back with two runs in the top of the fifth on RBI hits from Bayer and Smith.
Emily Strouse (Beech Creek, PA/Central Mountain) grounded out to bring in a run in the fifth for Penn State Altoona to make it 13-6, but the visitors answered with a run in the top of the sixth when Ashley Burford scored on an infield error.
The Lady Lions used a three-run bottom of the sixth to narrow the gap to 14-9. Leyo's RBI single to center, Marasti's run-scoring groundout to shortstop, and Miller's RBI double to left drove in the home team's runs that inning.
But La Roche added two insurance runs in the top of the seventh on Burford's RBI double and Andie Lippman's RBI single.
Game two was all about the pitching for Penn State Altoona.
Strouse got the start in the circle and recorded her first collegiate complete game shutout. In seven innings of work, the right-hander allowed only one hit and one walk while striking out three batters to earn her team-best eighth win of the season.
Bristol continued her hot streak at the plate, extending her hitting streak to eight games with a 2-for-3 performance with one RBI. Showers hit 2-for-4 with a run scored and a stolen base.
The Lady Lions scored the game's only run in the bottom of the first inning. Showers led off with a base hit to left-center and moved herself into scoring position by stealing second. In the next at-bat, Bristol drove in Showers with a single to left-center to put Penn State Altoona up 1-0.
Penn State Altoona softball's next games are tomorrow, Saturday, April 21 when the team travels to play AMCC opponent Pitt-Bradford for a doubleheader beginning at 1:00 p.m.