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Softball drops both ends of doubleheader to Penn State Altoona

(Posted March 22, 2011)

ALTOONA, Pa. -- Juniata College softball got plenty of hits and lots of run production, but was unable to come away with a win as the Eagles dropped both ends of Tuesday's non-conference doubleheader, 4-3 and 14-8, at Stewart Athletic Field.

In game one, Juniata (2-12) initially built a 3-1 lead over Penn State Altoona.

Rachel Smith (Martinsburg, Pa.) drove in one run in the first inning with an infield single to score Caley McCool (Spring Mills, Pa./Penns Valley). The Eagles added two runs in the fourth on McCool's two-run single down the right field line plating Jen Ashcraft (Bellefonte, Pa./State College Area) and Allison Gerlach (Mesa, Ariz./Marcos de Niza). Ashcraft and Gerlach got aboard earlier in the frame with base hits to right field.

The Lions posted one run in the third, with Courtney Mattocks crossing on a two-out wild pitch.

Penn State Altoona got the runs it needed to take the lead on four hits in the bottom of the sixth, with three of the hits and all the runs coming with two outs. Jackie Smith and Kendra Giedroc each had RBI singles, while Brittany Smith had an one run double.

Kelsea Decker (Waynesboro, Pa./Waynesboro Area) pitched all six innings for Juniata, striking out three and walking two while allowing 10 hits. McCool finished 2-for-3 at the plate with a pair of runs batted in, while Ashcraft and Amanda Gerlach (Mesa, Ariz./Marcos de Niza) each had a pair of hits.

Juniata jumped all over Penn State Altoona right from the outset of game two, posting six runs on the scoreboard on just one hit and two Lion errors in the top of the first.

Meghan Decker (Waynesboro, Pa./Waynesboro Area) had the lone Juniata hit of the frame, an RBI single down the left field line to score McCool, who reached on a leadoff error at short. A bases loaded walk issued to Smith followed by an Ashcraft grounder allowed two more runs to score, and Allison Gerlach plated Juniata's fourth run of the inning on a fielder's choice.

Smith later scored on a passed ball while Allison Gerlach stole home with two outs, capping the Juniata scoring.

Penn State Altoona answered with three runs in the bottom of the first, while Juniata posted a single run in the top of the third on Kelsey Shutt's (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) base hit up the middle to plate Erin Francis (Parkton, Md./Hereford), extending the Eagle lead to 7-3.

Three more Lion runs crossed the plate in the bottom of the third to pull Penn State Altoona to within one run at 7-6. McCool's two-out single into left allowed Francis to score from second base in the top of the fifth, keeping Juniata in front 8-6.

Penn State Altoona broke through in the fifth inning, as the first six Lion batters either reached on a walk or got a hit. Rebecca Enedy's two-run single up the middle proved to score the go-ahead runs, with Brittany Smith also plating two runs on a double to right center later in the frame.

Smith started in the circle for Juniata, fanning three Lions and yielding one walk while allowing six runs, four earned, on five hits. Reliever Mason Kersey (Charles Town, W.Va./St. John's Catholic) came on in the fourth and pitched into the fifth, and allowed five earned runs to get charged with the loss.

Smith and Meghan Decker each went 2-for-3 at the plate in the loss.

Juniata opens Landmark Conference play this Saturday, March 26, when it hosts Catholic University of America at 1:00 p.m. on Weaver Park Field.

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