Surging West Liberty Women Win 10th Straight
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – The West Liberty University softball team upped its winning streak to 10 games here Wednesday, sweeping a non-conference doubleheader at Slippery Rock (Pa.).
Coach Herb Minch's surging Hilltoppers (19-9) handed The Rock (7-19) a 3-2 extra-inning loss in the opener before taking a 5-2 verdict in the second game, which was called after six innings due to darkness.
In the opener, Slippery Rock stayed alive with unearned runs in the bottom of the seventh and eighth frames before the Black and Gold were finally able to close up shop in the ninth.
Makenzie Amend blanked SRU on three singles through the first six frames, striking out 12 without giving up a walk, but the Hilltoppers led just 1-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh.
The hosts managed to scratch out an unearned run against reliever Riley Bennington to send the game into extra innings only to see WLU score on a wild pitch in the top of the eighth to take a 2-1 lead.
Another infield error opened the door for Slippery Rock to tie the score again but Bennington escaped the eighth with no further damage and a 2-out RBI double by Laral Saunders put the Hilltoppers back on top, 3-2, as Bennington came out for the bottom of the ninth.
A leadoff sacrifice bunt moved the extra-inning runner to third but Bennington struck out the next two batters to wrap up the win.
Saunders led WLU's 11-hit attack with two singles and a double while Amend and Connor Assif also singled twice. Katie Beeman doubled and scored a run in the fourth.
After being blanked on two hits through the first four innings, the Hilltopper bats rumbled to life in the fifth inning of the nightcap.
Winning pitcher Annie Paterson and Lauren Garcia got things going with back-to-back doubles. Allie Cook added a 2-run double later in the frame and Kat Donzella launched a two-run blast over the centerfield fence to cap the 5-run uprising.
Trailing 5-2, Slippery Rock loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the sixth but as darkness fell, Paterson slammed the door with a strikeout and infield grounder to earn the complete-game win.
West Liberty returns to Mountain East Conference play this weekend, hosting Davis & Elkins on Saturday in a 1 p.m. doubleheader.
West Liberty 3, Slippery Rock 2
West Liberty 000 100 011 – 3 11 2
Slippery Rock 000 000 110 – 2 5 1
WLU: Amend (12SO, 0W), Bennington wp (7) (6SO, 0W) and Donzella. Saunders D, 2S, rbi; Amend 2S; Assif 2S; Beeman D
SRU: Anderson (6SO, 2W), Sharman lp (1SO, 0W) and Vith. Bowman S, rbi
(game called due to darkness)
West Liberty 5, Slippery Rock 2
West Liberty 000 050 – 5 7 1
Slippery Rock 001 010 – 2 9 0
WLU: Paterson wp (5SO, 1W) and Donzella. Donzella HR, S, 2rbi; Cook D, 2rbi; Garcia D, rbi; Paterson D
SRU: Sharman lp (2SO, 2W), Zimmerman (5) (1SO, 2W) and Vith. Vith 2S, 2rbi; Gardner 2S