Softball splits home series against Jets
Garett McCullough Sport Writer
Mental toughness was the difference for the Pitt State softball players against the 2-15 Newman Jets Wednsday in the Gorillas’ second home stand of the season. After a loss in the first game of the double-header, which was plagued with mistakes, the Gorillas took the second behind the strong pitching performance of freshman Jessica Barnes (1-0).
The first game ended with a score of 12-5 in the Jets’ favor, and although the final score didn’t reflect it, this game went into extra innings, ending in the eighth. After tying the game in the bottom of the seventh, Pitt State gave up seven runs in the top of the eighth as errors and miscommunications haunted the team. Tiffany Brown (2-4) pitched in the first game and was credited with the loss. Brown gave up eight runs, only five earned, while striking out seven. Coach Annette Shepherd said that her team wasn’t mentally disciplined.
Pitt State’s defense may have been off, but they swung the sticks well. Only two of Pitt State’s starters didn’t get into the hit column. Pitt State put up five runs on 11 hits in the first seven innings. Shepherd said the team batted well in both games, but that the team committed many mental mistakes.
Samantha Grove relieved Brown in the second after Brown let the first two runners reach base. Grove was not the answer as seven runs crossed in the eighth. The Gorillas were unable to rally in the bottom of the eighth, losing the game.
Barnes was given the nod in the second game, and she would not disappoint, winning 4-0. This was the freshman’s first game and she pitched a complete game shut-out while allowing only four hits.
“Barnes just showed that she was ready in the past three weeks,” Shepherd said. “So we felt comfortable going with her.”
Shepherd’s confidence proved right; Barnes struck out six on her way to the win.
Pitt State scored five runs in this game, three of which were earned, but most importantly, they played well in the field. Pitt State committed one error in the first and looked as though they might repeat the last game’s defensive performance. They focused and put together a solid defensive game to help get the win.
The Gorillas provided more than enough run support within the first two innings, scoring one in the first and three in the second. Eddy Erin was the bright spot in the line-up in the second game. She went 3-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Amanda Dacastro found herself jogging around the bases in the sixth when she sent a homer down the left-field line. Ultimately, the run was not needed.
The Gorillas are now 6-7 and 4-1 in their last five games. They swept the series versus Upper Iowa last week and will look to stay hot. This coming weekend the travel to Springfield, Miss. for six games in the MIAA Crossover Invitational.