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Shorthanded softball team splits series with Scranton

(Posted April 10, 2010)

SCRANTON, Pa. - Losing its starting pitcher last week to an injury, the Juniata College softball team started backup and converted shortstop, Stacy Nagy, in the circle, splitting the Landmark Conference doubleheader with the University of Scranton, Saturday afternoon. The Eagles won game one, 7-6, before dropping the nightcap, 10-2, in five innings.

In game one, the Eagles found themselves down numerous times, but fought back each time. Capping off the comeback was a three run sixth inning that gave Juniata a two run lead going into the final three outs.

The scoring started with an RBI by Steph Frith (Pottstown, Pa./Pottsgrove), as she singled up the middle, plating Melissa Moffat (Oceanside, Calif./Oceanside) who reached base on an error to lead off the inning.

Kelsey Shutt (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) tallied the go ahead run a batter later, as the Royal's catcher tried to catch Shutt off third, but the throw sailed into left field, allowing Shutt to trot home.

The Eagles finished their scoring in the sixth two batters later. Frith was able to come across the plate following a pitch in the dirt that got by the catcher, moving the score to 7-5.

Scranton threatened in the bottom half of the seventh, scoring a run, before starting pitcher Nagy (Millerton, Pa./Troy) shut the door on game one.

After Nagy got the first two batters out, the Royals followed with three straight singles, the third moving Scranton to within one run. But, with the tying run 120 feet away, and the winning run on first, Nagy induced Kristen Williams to ground out to Shutt at shortstop to end the game.

The Eagles used a 12 hit attack on Scranton in game one, including five players who had multiple hit games.

Leading the way for Juniata was Frith who ended 2-3 with two RBI's and a run scored. Shutt also had two hits, and added two runs with a stolen base. Jennifer O'Neill (Sayville, N.Y./Sayville) added a double and a single, knocking in one run. Senior Sarah Eckard (Hollidaysburg, Pa./Hollidaysburg) hit two singles, in addition to an RBI and swiping two bags. Allison Gerlach (Mesa, Ariz./Marcos de Niza) was the fifth batter to have two hits in game one. She also scored a run.

Already leading game two, 3-2, going into the bottom half of the third, Scranton (7-9, 1-1 Landmark) scored seven unanswered runs through the next three innings to salvage a split with the Eagles.

The game was cut short in the fifth, due to the eight run rule through five innings, as Russo crossed the plate for the game's final run.

The big inning for the Royals came in the fourth as Juniata (13-8, 3-3) replaced Nagy with Moffat in the circle. Today was Moffat's first pitching appearance in her collegiate career, let alone this season. In fact, this was the first time Moffat toed the rubber since her junior year in high school, back in 2006.

Leading 5-2 going into the inning, the Royals took advantage of Moffat's inexperience.

Moffat was able to get two of the first three batters out, but it was the final out that seemed to be an issue. Two doubles, two walks, and a single later, the Royals plated four runs to take control of the contest.

The Eagles scratched two runs across in the third, but starting pitcher Kelly Zaccheo only allowed four Juniata hits, moving her to 4-3 on the season.

Nagy worked the first three innings in game two, giving up five earned runs on six hits, but it was her effort in game one that allowed the Eagles to come away with a split. She is now 6-3 on the season.

Moffat and Shutt each had a double in game two, while Caley McCool (Spring Mills, Pa./Penns Valley) and Frith each added singles.

Frith and Shutt ended the day each hitting 3 for 5 combined for both games to lead the Eagles' offense.

The Eagles return home to Weaver Park Field on Monday, April 12, when they take on NAIA opponent Carlow University for a nonconference doubleheader. First pitch is slated to start at 3:00 p.m.

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