PITTSBURGH, Pa. – On Tuesday afternoon, Penn State Altoona softball picked up its first doubleheader sweep of an Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference opponent this season, as the Lady Lions earned 3-2 and 3-1 wins against La Roche University.
Penn State Altoona (12-14, 3-7 AMCC) was propelled by effective pitching and defense, giving up only two earned runs in 15 innings against La Roche (8-20, 3-9 AMCC).
"We keep getting really good pitching, and today we made it pay off," said Penn State Altoona head coach Joe Merilli. "Two good team wins."
Game One: Penn State Altoona 3, La Roche 2 (Final/8 innings)
The Lady Lions snapped a four-game losing streak by pulling out a 3-2 victory in extra innings.
Sidney Lewis (Smithmill, PA/Moshannon Valley) got the start in the circle and pitched a complete game, improving her season record to 5-3 with the win. In eight innings, she allowed only one earned run on seven hits and one walk while striking out seven batters. Lewis helped her own cause by going 1-for-4 with one run batted in and one stolen base.
Haley Giedroc (Howard, PA/Bald Eagle) led Penn State Altoona at the plate, going 2-for-4 with three stolen bases, two runs scored, and one RBI. Abby Showers (Philipsburg, PA/Philipsburg-Osceola) stole two bases, while going 1-for-4 with a run scored.
Penn State Altoona broke a scoreless tie in the top of the third inning. Giedroc led off the frame with her team's first hit, a single to first base. After stealing second and moving up to third on a groundout, Giedroc scored on Lewis' RBI base hit that put the Lady Lions on the board.
La Roche rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh inning, using a two-out RBI single from Devan Smith to knot the score 1-1 and ultimately send the game into extras.
But Penn State Altoona came back with two runs in the top of the eighth to reclaim the lead. Giedroc's RBI single scored Showers to make it 2-1, and Miller's groundout to second brought Giedroc home to give the Lady Lions a two-run advantage.
La Roche got a run back in the bottom of the eighth, when a double steal led to Dayna Calloway swiping home. But with no outs and the potential tying run in scoring position, Lewis and the Lady Lions got out of the inning without allowing any further damage to clinch the game one win.
Game Two: Penn State Altoona 3, La Roche 1
The Lady Lions got another strong start in the circle to help lead the team to victory.
Sarah Gearhart (McVeytown, PA/Mount Union) started at pitcher and got the win, improving her record to 4-7 this season in a complete game effort. In seven innings, she allowed one run on seven hits and two walks while striking out two batters.
Gearhart also spearheaded Penn State Altoona's offense, going 3-for-3 at the plate while recording a team-high two stolen bases.
Miller went 1-for-3 with a double, and Jayde Burge (Philipsburg, PA/Philipsburg-Osceola) was 1-for-3 with a run scored. Showers went 1-for-4 with an RBI, and Meghan Marasti (Pittsburgh, PA/Penn-Trafford) batted 1-for-4 with a run scored and a stolen base.
Penn State Altoona scored a run in each of the first two innings to get out to a 2-0 lead. In the top of the first inning, Marasti reached on a one-out single and later scored on an infield error. In the second, Showers' two-out RBI single to right gave her team the two-run lead.
The Lady Lions added a run to their total in the top of the fourth. Burge led off with a single up the middle, and she came around to score on another infield error later in the inning to make it 3-0.
La Roche got on the board in the bottom of the fourth, when Emily Samluk led off with a double and later scored on Samantha Hunter's sacrifice fly to left. But the Lady Redhawks were kept off the scoreboard for the rest of the game, as Penn State Altoona clinched the doubleheader sweep.
Penn State Altoona softball returns home for its next games, as the Lady Lions will host non-conference opponent Juniata College for a doubleheader this Thursday, April 18. Game one will begin at 3:00 p.m. at Stewart Athletic Field.