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Juniata softball's post-season hopes end in split at Catholic

(Posted April 26, 2008)

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Heading into the final day of the regular season, the Juniata College softball team needed a sweep of Catholic University in its Landmark Conference doubleheader against the Cardinals on Saturday in Washington, D.C. The Eagles completed half their goal by the midway point of the afternoon, with a 2-0 win over Catholic in game one of the twinbill. However the sweep eluded Juniata, as Catholic upended the Eagles 5-0 in game two to claim the fourth and final spot for next weekend's Landmark Conference softball tournament. In the first game, both Juniata (21-16, 4-8 Landmark) crossed in the second inning. Amanda Albanese (Hampton, N.J./North Hunterdon) got aboard thanks to a two-out error by Catholic shortstop Heather Holley, and scored on Denalyn Spratt's (Haddon Heights, N.J./Haddon Heights) single to left field. Spratt crossed later in the frame on Eckard's ball to left field, which was mishandled by the Cardinal leftfielder. Alyssa Erb (Hollidaysburg, Pa./Hollidaysburg) allowed just two hits with two strikeouts on her way to the complete game victory, and held Catholic to three-up, three-down in each of the last four innings. She improved her record to 15-9 with the win. Cardinal starter Stacie Goddard also went the distance, fanning eight Eagle batters while surrendering six hits and two unearned runs. In game two, Catholic took the lead with a three-run second inning, keyed by Kelly Lukacs' two-out, two-run double to center field. The Cardinals' Lynn Brown homered to left field to add a single run in the third, while the Cardinals manufactured a run off a lead-off walk in the sixth. Juniata struggled to respond offensively, stranding five runners on base while being held to just three hits with one walk, but only twice getting runners in scoring position. Eagle starter Pam Mansell (Centre Hall, Pa./Penns Valley) allowed three earned runs on four hits with one walk and one strikeout on her way to the loss. Erb came on for Mansell in the third inning, and gave up a pair of runs on three hits and a walk while recording four strikeouts. Goddard also pitched all of game two for the Cardinals, scattering three hits while recording four strikeouts on her way to her second win of the day. The split closes the books on Juniata's season at 21-16 overall, giving the Eagles their first 20-win season since 2004 (20-13). -30-

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