By Ronald Hanaki
On Monday, April 6, sophomore Rachael Liguori and junior Allison Mende’s stellar pitching enabled ESU’s softball team to sweep the Mansfield Mounties 3-2 and 4-2 in a home doubleheader to improve their overall record to 12-7. Despite being picked to finish eighth in their division in a preseason poll, the Warriors are currently ranked fifth in the PSAC East with a 5-3 record in the conference.
The first game of the doubleheader was a pitcher’s duel between ESU pitching ace Liguori and Mansfield’s Ashley Inman, Liguori (5-3) only allowed 2 runs and 4 hits and went the distance for the win. Mansfield’s Inman also only allowed 4 hits and gave up 3 runs in taking the hard luck loss for the Mounties.
It was a scoreless game until the bottom of the third inning. With two outs and runners on first and second, senior first baseman Cara McNeil hit a 2-RBI triple to put ESU ahead 2-0.
Mansfield would answer in the sixth inning. Mansfield sophomore catcher Hannah Secord doubled and advanced to third on a wild pitch by Liguori. Secord scored when Mansfield senior center fielder Courtney Bauder hit an RBI triple to right center. A sacrifice fly by Mansfield sophomore right fielder Laura Lawson tied the game at 2-2.
ESU would retake the lead in the top of the sixth inning. Senior Sierra Wagner reached first base on an error by Mansfield freshman second baseman Taylor Chidester. Freshman Madison Oren came into the game to pinch run for Wagner and advanced to second on a sacrifice by McNeil. Oren was able to advance to third base on a ground out by sophomore shortstop Rae Holden and to score on an RBI single by senior second baseman Jamie Smith to make the game 3-2 ESU.
The Mounties would threaten in the top of the seventh inning when Liguori gave up a 2-out walk to Mansfield’s Inman. Mansfield managed to put the tying run on the bases, but the Mounties failed to tie the score as Liguori struck out Mansfield’s Secord to end the game.
The second game of the doubleheader saw junior pitcher Allison Mende pitch a gem. Mende (6-2) looked masterful in the circle in only allowing 2 runs on 3 hits for the complete game win.
An RBI sacrifice fly by ESU’s Cara McNeil in the bottom of the first inning allowed the Warriors to take an early 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the third inning, an RBI single by senior center fielder Kasey Meckes and an RBI double by Sierra Wagner lifted ESU to a 3-0 lead.
ESU freshman right fielder Katherine Liedberg’s RBI triple in the bottom of the fourth inning made the score 4-0 Warriors.
The Mounties would not go away quietly. In the top of the fifth inning, a 1-out double by Mansfield freshman Rachael Sterner was followed by a 2-run home run by freshman left fielder Melanie Taylor to make the score 4-2. However, Mansfield’s bats would fall silent after that as ESU’s Mende retired the final 8 Mounties to secure the win for the Warriors.
ESU’s softball team was scheduled to play Lock Haven University in a road doubleheader on Thursday afternoon, April 9 and a home doubleheader against Shippensburg on Friday afternoon, April 10.
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