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Juniata softball sweeps doubleheader from Keystone

(Posted March 10, 2010)

SURFSIDE BEACH, S.C. -- Juniata College softball piled up runs and hits against an overmatched Keystone College squad, and notched 12-2 and 9-1 wins over the Giants on Wednesday at the H. Blue Huckabee Recreation Complex in Surfside Beach, S.C. Both Juniata victories came in games shortened to five innings under the "mercy rule".

Juniata (5-1) jumped all over Keystone in the top of the first of game one, as freshman Jen O'Neill (Sayville, N.Y./Sayville) crushed a grand slam home run to straightaway center field, scoring Sarah Eckard (Hollidaysburg, Pa./Hollidaysburg), Stacy Nagy (Millerton, Pa./Troy) and Rachel Nagy (Nazareth, Pa./Nazareth). Eckard and Stacy Nagy both reached on singles, while Rachel Nagy drew a walk.

The Eagles batted around in the inning, and Stacy Nagy added run total with a two-out double to left-center field that plated three unearned runs.

Juniata put up four runs in the top of the second, when pitcher Alyssa Erb (Hollidaysburg, Pa./Hollidaysburg) showed her offensive chops with a two-run single to left center. Allison Gerlach (Mesa, Ariz./Marcos de Niza) doubled home Erb later in the frame with a hit down the left field line.

Keystone added single runs in the first and fifth innings, but never seriously threatened Juniata's lead.

Erb struck out seven Giant batters in the one-hit performance, and retired the side in the second, third, and fourth innings. Keystone starter Tara Diesel was chased after two-thirds of an inning, after allowing eight runs, four earned, on six hits and two walks, and was charged with the loss.

Eckard and Stacy Nagy led the Eagles with 2-for-3 performances at the plate, while Caley McCool (Spring Mills, Pa./Penns Valley) went 2-for-4.

Juniata picked up in game two where it left off in game one, putting up three runs in both the first and second innings.

The Eagles posted three runs on three hits in the bottom of the first, including an RBI single by O'Neill. She was plated later in the inning by McCool's double to center field. Juniata continued bleeding Keystone in the second, where the Eagles' five hits included RBI singles by Stacy Nagy, Rachel Nagy, and O'Neill.

Stacy Nagy opened the Juniata fourth with a double to right, and pinch runner Denalyn Spratt (Haddon Heights, N.J./Haddon Heights) scored on Amanda Gerlach's (Mesa, Ariz./Marcos de Niza) scorched double to right-center. McCool drove in Amanda Gerlach with a base hit, following Rachel Nagy's single to right field that moved Gerlach to third.

Rachel Nagy ended the game in the fifth, when she singled up the middle to score Eckard from third and trigger the mercy rule. Eckard reached on a one-out infield single.

Starter Stacy Nagy allowed one run on four hits in four innings of work, before getting pulled in the Juniata half of the fourth. Erb came on in relief, fanning two of the three Giants she faced.

Keystone starter Meagan Cunningham yielded nine runs, six of them earned, on 16 Juniata hits. She struck out just two Eagles in the contest.

Amanda Gerlach led the Eagles with a 3-for-3 performance at the plate, while Eckard, Stacy Nagy, O'Neill and McCool had two hits each. Rachel Nagy went 3-for-4, and drove in three runs.

Juniata is scheduled to close out its spring break slate on Thursday, March 11, with games against LaRoche College and Wentworth Institute of Technology - however the weather forecast for Thursday is calling for a better than 90 percent chance of thundershowers.

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