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Softball opens 2010 campaign with convincing wins over Penn State Berks and St. Elizabeth

(Posted March 8, 2010)

SURFSIDE BEACH, S.C. -- Junior Caley McCool (Spring Mills, Pa./Penns Valley) plated five runs on four hits to lead Juniata College softball in a pair of season opening slugfest wins over Penn State Berks and the College of St. Elizabeth at the H. Blue Huckabee Recreation Complex.

The Eagles logged a 3-0 win over Penn State Berks in game one of the doubleheader, and closed the twinbill with a 12-0 triumph over St. Elizabeth in five innings.

Juniata (2-0) pounded out 11 hits against Berks in the opener, but left 11 runners stranded on base and allowed the Lions to stay within striking distance.

Two Eagle runs scored in the first inning. Senior left fielder Sarah Eckard (Hollidaysburg, Pa./Hollidaysburg) reached on a fielding error by Berks second baseman Devon Denker, and later scored on a wild pitch. McCool belted a double later in the frame, allowing Amanda Gerlach (Mesa, Ariz./Marcos de Niza) to score after she reached on a walk.

Juniata's final run crossed in the fifth, after Jen O'Neill (Sayville, N.Y./Sayville) crushed a lead off triple to right field and scored on Kelsey Shutt's (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) lined double into deep center field.

Senior Alyssa Erb (Hollidaysburg, Pa./Hollidaysburg) fanned 10 Lions in a one-hit performance, with Marissa Ruggiero getting the lone Penn State Berks hit in the fourth with a leadoff single. She was eventually put out on Jamie Hoffart's double play grounder to end the inning. After the first inning, Juniata put away Berks with three-up, three-down innings the rest of the way.

McCool, Gerlach, and Shutt all went 2-for-3 at the plate versus Berks, with Shutt and McCool getting credit for an RBI each. Eckard was 2-for-4 against the Lions.

The Eagles racked up 10 hits against St. Elizabeth in game two, but made better use of the offense to produce 12 runs.

McCool put a pair of Juniata runs on the board in the first with a two-run single, and crossed on O'Neill's triple down the right field line on the next at bat. An infield error by St. Elizabeth and an RBI single by Steph Frith (Pottstown, Pa./Pottsgrove) forced two more runs home in the first.

Another two-run single up the middle by McCool in the second stretched Juniata's lead to 7-0. A five-run Juniata third inning was keyed by Amanda Gerlach's three-run double to center field. The game was stopped after the St. Elizabeth half of the fifth under the "12-run rule".

Senior Stacy Nagy made her first collegiate start in the circle, and struck out 10 St. Elizabeth batters on her way to the complete game, two-hit victory.

Nagy, McCool, and Tessa Sternbach (Jersey City, N.J./Hudson County Tech) all finished with two hits versus St. Elizabeth. McCool recorded four RBI, while Gerlach finished with three.

Juniata will face LaRoche College and Wentworth Institute of Technology in Tuesday's doubleheader in Surfside Beach, with first pitch of game one scheduled for 9:30 a.m.

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Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.