By Ronald Hanaki
On Monday afternoon, ESU’s Women’s Softball team lost their home doubleheader to the West Chester University Golden Rams at Zimbar Field. In a pair of close games, West Chester defeated ESU 3-1 in the first game and 3-2 in the second game.
In the first game, the Warriors achieved an early lead. Sophomore Madison Vicendese drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the first inning and scored when junior Heather Visco tripled.
West Chester leveled the game in the top of the second inning on a leadoff double by Emily Maseth. Heidi McCollister reached first on an error by ESU’s Rae Holden. That allowed Maseth to advance to third. She later scored an unearned run, and the game was knotted at one.
West Chester would take the lead in the top of the fifth inning. Sarah Walasavage hit a leadoff single, but West Chester’s next two batters went hitless.
With two outs, Walasavage got a good jump and stole second. It wouldn’t matter because Alyssa Herion belted a two-run home run to left field that gave the Golden Rams a 3-1 lead.
Unfortunately for the Warrior faithful, ESU would not be able to generate any more runs. Freshman phenom Kaylee Hazewski singled in the bottom of the fifth inning, but she was left stranded. Junior pitcher Mary Wallick hit a two-out double in the bottom of the sixth inning, but she was also left stranded.
Then West Chester hung a 1-2-3 inning on the Warriors as ESU’s batters went silent in the bottom of the seventh.
West Chester starting pitcher Amanda Houck went the distance. She scattered six hits and walked only one to earn the complete game victory.
Wallick also pitched seven innings for the Warriors. She was touched for eight hits and gave up three runs (two earned) in the loss.
The second game was even closer. West Chester scratched across one run apiece in the first two innings. But the Warriors would tie the game in the bottom of the third inning.
Leadoff singles by Hazewski and Vicendese gave the Warriors first and second with nobody out. Visco’s sacrifice bunt advanced the two baserunners to second and third.
Senior Danielle Wissinger’s RBI single down the right field line drove in Hazewski and knocked West Chester starting pitcher Brooke Harner out of the game.
The Rolaids call to the bullpen went to Houck, the winning pitcher from the first game. But she quickly gave up an RBI single to Wallick. The Warriors still had first and second with one out, and the rally seemed to be on.
But Houck induced ESU freshman Rachel Grabowski to ground into a 5-3 double play to end the threat.
The game was now tied, but West Chester’s offense was relentless.
West Chester’s Madison Kelly hit a leadoff single in the top of the fifth inning. West Chester’s Bri Garber reached on a fielder’s choice that retired Kelly at second, but Walasavage hit a single up the middle to give the Golden Rams first and second with one out.
West Chester’s Sara Ercolani reached first on a fielder’s choice that erased Garber at third. But the pressure was still on the Warriors to hold the lead because the Golden Rams still had runners on first and second.
With two outs, it looked like ESU starting pitcher Rachael Liguori might wriggle her way out of the jam. Unfortunately, the Golden Rams persisted.
West Chester’s Cat Hammer drove the ball back up the middle for an RBI single that scored Walasavage. It took three hits, but West Chester retook the lead 3-2.
Houck would retire the next nine out of 11 ESU hitters to register her 16th win of the season.
Liguori pitched a complete game for ESU. In total, she gave up ten hits and three runs (two earned).
It wasn’t all bad for Liguori. On Monday afternoon, Liguori was named the PSAC East Softball Pitcher of the Week. Liguori won three games last week on her way to compiling a 1.84 ERA over 19 innings.
She also pitched a shutout against Millersville. It was her eighth shutout and the 39th complete game of her career.
The Warriors (7-12, 1-3) are scheduled to play a home doubleheader against Georgian Court at Zimbar Field later this afternoon.
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