The Shippensburg University softball team rallied from a four-run deficit in its final at-bat of Game 1 on Saturday to claim the opener of a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Eastern Division doubleheader against Millersville, ultimately achieving a sweep of the Marauders by scores of 6-5 and 4-1 on a sunny day at Robb Field.
Shippensburg (19-13, 4-2 PSAC East) notched its first divisional sweep of the season behind an 18-hit attack, striking out just three times at the plate on the day. SU pitchers recorded 23 strikeouts, with freshman Tressa Kagarise limiting the visitors to just two hits and striking out eight in Game 2, and senior Taryn Wilson earning a win and a save while fanning 14.
Millersville (16-21, 1-5) held a 5-0 lead through the first five innings of Game 1, as Faith Willenbrock slugged a three-run shot to pad the Marauder advantage. SU got one run back in the sixth on an RBI-single by freshman Hannah Johnson that followed a double by freshman Grace Palmieri.
In the decisive seventh, freshman Lacey Hunter started out with a double before junior Kayla Bonawitz singled her home and took second on the throw. After a fly out and an infield hit, freshman Hannah Marsteller slugged her seventh home run of the season to tie the game at 5-5. Palmieri then singled, and two batters later, with two outs, Johnson doubled into the left-center field gap for the walkoff win.
In Game 2, SU took a 1-0 lead on an unearned run after Hunter singled home freshman Morgan Fetter. With the score tied 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth, junior Meghan Klee slammed her first homer of the season (fourth of her career), a two-run shot to right-center, to give SU a 3-1 lead.
The Raiders appeared to score two more runs in the inning, as freshman Morgan DeFeo laced an opposite-field, two-run double over the shortstop’s head, but DeFeo was called out of the batter’s box by the home-plate umpire. DeFeo later added a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning for SU’s fourth and final run.
Wilson’s busy day in the circle included 7.1 innings, four runs allowed and 14 strikeouts. She was replaced by Johnson in the fifth inning, only to return two batters into the sixth inning and finish for what proved to be the win. Wilson entered two batters into the seventh inning of Game 2, striking out two of the three batters she faced for her first save of the season and the second of her career.
Kagarise improved her record to 9-4 by allowing one unearned run in her six innings of work. She walked five but yielded just two singles otherwise.
Overall on the day, Hunter and Bonawitz each finished with three hits, an RBI and two stolen bases. Over the last 10 games, Hunter has been the team’s leading hitter, batting .370 (10-for-27) with five RBIs and four steals. Bonawitz, now with a single-season career high of 11 steals this season, has nine stolen bases in the last 10 games to complement a .364 average and eight runs scored.
Also on Saturday, Johnson finished 3-for-7 at the plate, while Palmieri was 3-for-6 and hit by a pitch. Klee and sophomore Courtney Coy each reached base three times.
Raider softball returns to action Tuesday with a doubleheader at Shepherd. First pitch of Game 1 is scheduled for 2 p.m.