Softball makes push for PSAC playoffs, goes 2-2 over weekend

In a doubleheader against Lock Haven University April 21, Indiana University of Pennsylvania fell to the Bald Eagles 3-0 and 6-5.

Despite the two losses to the Bald Eagles, the Crimson Hawks had something to be happy about. Earlier in the day, Alexa Campbell (junior, exercise science) was named Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West Pitcher of the Week.

“It was neat to get pitcher of the week after we, as a team, had been working so hard to stay focused and play well as a whole throughout a long week of games,” Campbell said. “I try to take things one game, one inning, one out and one pitch at a time, so to see it all come together for the week was pretty cool.”

However, she suffered the loss in the first game. Campbell gave up three runs on four hits with three strikeouts.

Lock Haven scored each run in the third inning, while the Crimson Hawks had just a pair of hits.

“Unfortunately, we just couldn’t get the couple of clutch hits we needed to get us going to score in game one,” Campbell said.

In game two, during the top of the first, IUP took a 1-0 lead that disappeared in the second inning as the Bald Eagles tied the game 1-1. Lock Haven took a huge lead in the fifth as four more runs were scored.

Taking advantage of Lock Haven’s two errors, the Crimson Hawks picked up three hits, scoring four runs.

In the sixth inning, Mary Ward (senior, computer science) hit a double that brought home Jenn Krider (freshman, psychology) and Jasa Mitchell (senior, criminology). Angela Devereaux (senior, health and physical education) also had a run-scoring hit, driving Ward to home plate.

As a reliever for Campbell, Tara Senn (sophomore, early childhood/special education) started pitching in the bottom of the ninth to take the game to the 10th inning. However, Senn was unable to escape the Bald Eagles as an infield single with the bases loaded and two outs solidified the extra-inning victory for Lock Haven.

“They were our fifth doubleheader in six days,” head coach William Graham said. “We played well defensively in spurts and got some good pitching, but we did not hit at all. We came back in the second game and sent it to extras but lost on a bad-hop ground ball.”

IUP squared up with Clarion University when Amanda Spindler (freshman, criminology) sealed the victory in game two of the doubleheader.

The Crimson Hawks dominated the Golden Eagles, winning 6-2 and 9-2.

In game one, Christi Mauk (senior, exercise science) got things started in the third with a single off of the pitcher, which brought home Emily Hofmann (freshman, business management).

Allison Viguers (sophomore, marketing) followed with a single to right field, bringing home Mauk and Hannah Mercer (freshman, marketing) and giving IUP a quick 3-0 lead.

Game two of the doubleheader started off on a different note as the Golden Eagles quickly scored back-to-back home runs in the opening inning.

However, IUP struck back during the fourth with two runs of their own, tying the game at 2-2.

In the next inning, Spindler, reaching on a fielder’s choice, sent Meghan Carney (junior, early childhood/special education) to home plate.

With a double to right field, Mercer scored Gould. And Mauk, reaching on an error and advancing to second, scored Mercer.

Spindler capped off the Crimson Hawk victory by crushing a grand slam to right center field in the sixth, giving IUP the 9-2 lead.

With the bases loaded, the home run was much more than scoring four runs.

“It felt like a dream to hit a home run, let alone it being a grand slam,” Spindler said. “If I never got to hit in my career again, I would be happy just to leave it at that … . Just having that one hit will make me happy forever.”

Overall, Senn earned the win for IUP, pitching a complete game while allowing two runs off of eight hits and striking out four.

Spindler finished the game going one-of-three with four RBIs and a run scored. Mercer went one-of-four with a run scored and an RBI while Carney was one-for-two with two runs scored.

“Despite the cold, the girls responded well to the challenge,” Graham said. “We got some more excellent pitching, and the offense was much better. We always talk about finishing strong, and I feel like that’s what keeps us motivated,” Spindler said. “To always do our best no matter what situation [we’re] in – we always want to finish strong.”

The two victories improved IUP’s record to 25-13 overall, 18-6 in the PSAC on the season, holding on to second place in the PSAC West.

“I always need to remind myself that my coaches chose me to play here for a reason; it’s not luck that came into play,” Spindler said. “I also want to do my best when the rest of my team does.”