IUP experiencing some early-season growing pains

This past weekend, the IUP softball team had six games scheduled, but due to incliment weather, the Sunday doubleheader with Edinboro University was postponed.

Although the Crimson Hawks got a day off, the softball team was kept busy with a doubleheader at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia and another doubleheader at Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference foe Shippensburg University.

IUP opened up the weekend with a 6-1 loss to WJU.

Despite the Crimson Hawks’ five-hit offensive effort, IUP was unable to produce the runs needed.

“WJU got an early lead, and we just never threatened. Their pitcher did a really nice job keeping us off-balance,” IUP softball coach Bill Graham said.

Following the 6-1 loss, the Crimson Hawks rebounded and found themselves on the winning side of another high-scoring game.

In the second game of the doubleheader, IUP came out on top, 6-3, with freshmen Kaitlyn Beers (criminology) and Megan Little (art studio)  recording two RBIs each to help lift the Crimson Hawks over the Cardinals.

“Even though we do have a lot of youthfulness, we have a lot of talent,” senior Hannah Mercer (marketing) said.

Following the WJU doubleheader, IUP traveled to Shippensburg for another two-game set.

In both games, the Crimson Hawks fell short in two separate pitching duels.

The first game was a 2-0 loss despite an impressive six-inning, seven-strikeout performance from sophomore pitcher Lauren Zola (hospitality management).

“Right now, we need to work on our offense,” Mercer said. “We are hoping as we continue to play, we improve.”

In the second game at Shippensburg, IUP was able to produce a lot of offense, but was unable to collect enough timely hits to produce runs. In the 6-3 loss, the Crimson Hawks outhit the Raiders, 10-9.

“Growing pains is something, I’d say,” Mercer said. “Down in Florida, we won some huge games. I think some of our inconsistency is because we are young.”

Although the Crimson Hawks do have a youth-heavy roster (six freshmen and only two seniors), they are aware that just playing  games is a valuable experience.

“At this point of the season, we are just happy to get games in,” Mercer said.

The Edinboro doubleheader has not yet been rescheduled. The Crimson Hawks will travel to Lock Haven University Friday for a doubleheader, then will hold their home-opener at 1 p.m. Saturday against Clarion University.