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Softball's Eckard sets Juniata career hits mark in split versus Catholic

(Posted March 27, 2010)

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Juniata College outfielder Sarah Eckard's (Hollidaysburg, Pa./Hollidaysburg) three-hit effort carried the Eagles to a 6-3 win over Catholic University of America, in game one of the teams' Landmark Conference doubleheader at the CUA Softball Field.

Juniata (9-6, 1-1 Landmark) couldn't complete the sweep, falling to Catholic 11-5 in the nightcap.

Eckard's three singles allowed the senior to break Juniata's career hits mark, giving her 144 for her career. She eclipsed the old mark of 143, set by Tara Carl (2006-09) just a year ago. Eckard also crossed the plate once for one run, allowing her to tie Juniata's all-time runs scored mark with 101, equaling Carl's 101 career runs.

Tied 3-3 with Catholic after four innings in game one, Juniata broke the deadlock with a single run in the top of the sixth. Rachel Nagy (Nazareth, Pa./Nazareth) reached on a lead-off double, and pinch runner Denalyn Spratt (Haddon Heights, N.J./Haddon Heights) eventually scored the winning run on Caley McCool's (Spring Mills, Pa./Penns Valley) mishandled infield grounder.

The Eagles tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the seventh when Steph Frith (Pottstown, Pa./Pottsgrove) got aboard with a single, and Eckard reached and moved Frith around to third on an error by the pitcher. Allison Gerlach's (Mesa, Ariz./Marcos de Niza) grounder to second allowed Frith to score, and Eckard crossed on a wild pitch.

Catholic (14-6, 1-1 Landmark) had a chance to tie the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the sixth. Melissa Rebechi tried to score from third on Tracey Scanlon's grounder to third with two outs, but was put out at the plate to end the inning.

Eagle starter Alyssa Erb (Hollidaysburg, Pa./Hollidaysburg) scattered six hits and struck out four while allowing three earned runs and three walks in the complete game win. Cardinal starter Stephanie Clemente allowed all six Juniata runs, only two of which were earned, and was tagged with the loss.

In addition to Eckard's three hits, Nagy and Frith also logged three hits for the game, while McCool had a pair of singles.

In game two, Catholic posted two runs in the second inning and six runs in the third, taking a commanding 8-0 lead before Juniata ever managed to get on the scoreboard. The Cardinals' six-run third was keyed by Megan Rizzi's two-out, three-run triple, while Katie Ann Trotta's two-run single accounted for both Catholic runs in the second.

Juniata finally answered in the fifth with four runs, scored on three walks, a passed ball, and two singles - including an RBI base hit by Jennifer O'Neill (Sayville, N.Y./Sayville).

That would be all the offense the Eagles could muster, as the Cardinals answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth - both off a Rizzi double - and a single run in the sixth on a home run by Taylor Stockinger.

Juniata starter Stacy Nagy (Millerton, Pa./Troy) lasted two-and-two-thirds inning, allowing eight runs, four earned, on seven hits and two walks. Erb came on in the third inning, and was responsible for the final three Catholic runs to cross the plate.

Catholic starter Stacie Goddard fanned five Juniata batters while allowing five hits and six walks, and picked up the win.

Juniata's five hits were spread among five batters, with Allison Gerlach, Amanda Gerlach (Mesa, Ariz./Marcos de Niza), Rachel Nagy, O'Neill, and Kelsey Shutt (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) recording a single apiece.

Juniata returns to action on Wednesday, March 31, when it travels to Chambersburg, Pa., to face Wilson College. First pitch of game one of the doubleheader is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.

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