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McCool walk-off triple caps 3-2 Juniata softball win over PSU-Altoona; Eagles complete sweep 9-2 in game two

(Posted May 1, 2010)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Junior second baseman Caley McCool's (Spring Mills, Pa./Penns Valley) two-run walk-off triple lifted Juniata College softball to a 3-2 come-from-behind win over Penn State Altoona, in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader at Weaver Park Field.

Juniata's four-run uprising in the third inning of the second game propelled the Eagles to a 9-2 victory, and sweep of the twinbill.

Rachel Nagy (Nazareth, Pa./Nazareth) doubled down the right field line with one out in the bottom of the seventh, and moved to second when Jen O'Neill (Sayville, Pa./Sayville) drew the walk. That brought up McCool, who lined a ball past Altoona left fielder Jennifer Fish, allowing both Nagy and O'Neill to cross for the.

O'Neill singled home Sarah Eckard (Hollidaysburg, Pa,/Hollidaysburg) in the first inning, and Juniata's 1-0 lead held up all the way to the top of the seventh, when Penn State Altoona scored twice go to in front,
2-1.

After a lead-off walk issued to the Lions' Erin Cline, Kelly McVay doubled to center to move Cline to third. Heidi Shoemaker plated Cline two batters later with a sacrifice fly to center field, and Aisha Kassam singled on the next at bat to score McVay.

Juniata starting pitcher Alyssa Erb (Hollidaysburg, Pa./Hollidaysburg) scattered four hits while striking out three and walking three to earn the win, improving her season record to 11-7. Penn State Altoona starter and fellow Hollidaysburg High School grad Jackie Smith yielded three earned runs on nine hits with two walks and two strike outs in the loss.

Nagy's double was the 40th of her career in the senior's 2-for-4 effort at the plate in game one. O'Neill also had a pair of hits, while Eckard, McCool, Amanda Gerlach (Mesa, Ariz./Marcos de Niza), Steph Frith (Pottstown, Pa./Pottsgrove), and Stacy Nagy (Millerton, Pa./Troy) each had one hit.

In game two, Eckard's two-run double to left center keyed a four-run third that vaulted Juniata into a 6-1 lead through three innings.

After Penn State Altoona answered with a single run in the top of the fourth, Juniata tacked on another run in the fifth. Denalyn Spratt (Haddon Heights, N.J./Haddon Heights) singled into right field with two on and none out in the fifth to score Gerlach, who got aboard with a lead-off single to center.

The Eagles added two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth. O'Neill reached on a double and later scored on a double steal of home and second with McCool at first base. McCool crossed three batters later on Spratt's RBI single to right field.

McCool also had an RBI single for Juniata's one run in the first inning, while Stacy Nagy plated one run in the second on a ground rule double down the left field line.

Erb pitched the first four innings of game two, fanning three Lions and allowed one earned run on four hits and a walk. Stacy Nagy came on in the fifth inning and pitched three innings of shutout ball for her second save of the season, allowing four hits with a walk and a strike out.

Nagy had the benefit of some solid defense behind her. After Penn State Altoona got runners on second and third with one out in the top of the fifth, Allison Gerlach (Mesa, Ariz./Marcos de Niza) made a shoestring catch in center field, then caught the Lions' Alanna Luzier off the bag at second with a throw to McCool for an inning-ending double play.

Eckard, O'Neill, McCool, Gerlach, and Spratt all recorded a pair of hits in game two, while Spratt and Eckard plated a pair of runs. O'Neill and Amanda Gerlach each scored twice for Juniata.

For Penn State Altoona (19-16), starter Emily Boyer allowed six runs, only two of which were earned, on seven hits and a walk in the losing effort.

Juniata (19-16) is scheduled to complete its 2010 regular season on Monday, May 3, when it hosts Mount Aloysius College at 3:00 p.m. on Weaver Park Field.

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