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@PPUSoftball ends FL trip with win over Madonna, 8-inning loss to Cornerstone

March 5, 2015

Point Park CF Alyssa McMurtrie homered to key the win over Madonna.


By Karina Graziani

CLERMONT, Fla. – Point Park University softball split two games on Thursday, the final day of its Florida trip. The Pioneers beat Madonna University (Mich.), 7-4, and succumbed to Cornerstone University (Mich.), 8-7, in eight innings.

The Pioneers scored four runs in the fourth inning to take control versus Madonna (9-3) for a 6-3 lead. Senior pitcher Kate Reese (0-1) earned the victory in five innings. She had two strikeouts, zero walks and four runs (three earned) on six hits. Hannah Harley pitched the final two innings to get the save.

The extra-inning loss to Cornerstone (5-3) was a heart breaker, and it sends the Pioneers back to Pittsburgh with a 3-5 record. Point Park had won three in a row after starting out 0-4.

Point Park scored three runs with two outs in the bottom of the seventh on Karen Mao’s three-run double to tie the score at 6-6. That forced extra innings, and Cornerstone got two in its half of the eighth.

Point Park cut the lead to 8-7 and had the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the eighth. But a great defensive play in right field of Taylor Geary’s liner and an ensuing strikeout sealed the win for Cornerstone.

Versus Madonna, the Pioneers started scoring in the top of the first. Becca Babincak and Gabi Vogt singled to get on base, and Karen Mao drove in Babincak on a sacrifice fly to left.

Alyssa McMurtrie led off the second inning with her first home run of the year, a solo shot over the right field fence.

Madonna (9-3) got its bats moving to score three runs in the bottom of the third to take the lead.

Point Park kept rolling and regained the lead with a four-run inning highlighted by a two-run double by Vogt and RBI singles by Babincak and Taylor Geary, making the score 6-3.

After two hits, Reese retired three batters in a row, but not before a solo homer by Madonna’s Emma Cook closed the gap to 6-4 in the fifth.

Junior Hannah Harley entered the game in the bottom of the sixth to relieve Reese, and she retired the side in order, recording two strikeouts.

The Pioneers added an insurance run in the top of the seventh when McMurtrie scored Mao on a single to right. Harley struck out three of the final six Madonna batters to end the game.

Point Park kept fans on the edge of their seats during the final game against Cornerstone University (4-3).

Megan Dyer (0-2) got the start, allowing six hits, three walks and zero strikeouts in two innings.

The Golden Eagles jumped on the scoreboard first when Harley Sherman hit a double with no outs to score shortstop Jenna Weightman. Megan Oberst singled to score Hailey Castillo, and with two outs, Alexsandra Szajna singled and Oberst scored.

Point Park answered in the bottom of the second when McMurtrie’s double sent Beitler home. McMurtrie later scored on a wild pitch to cut the deficit to a single run, 3-2

Harley relieved Dyer in the top of third. She allowed six hits, two walks and six strikeouts in five innings of work. The Pioneers held Cornerstone scoreless for three innings, and Natalie Zivic tied the game at 4-4 with a solo homer in the bottom of fourth.

Then Cornerstone steadily built a 7-4 lead with single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.

With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Mao reached on an error by the left fielder, allowing three unearned runs to score, tying the game 6-6. Mao advanced to third on a wild pitch but was stranded 60 feet away with the winning run.

Then coach Michelle Coultas sent Reese into the pitcher’s circle for the eighth inning.

Cornerstone’s Castillo began the inning on second, according to the international tie-breaker rule. She moved to third on a single by Sherman and scored on a wild pitch. Then, a single down the left field line by freshman Jessica Wright brought Sherman home to extend the Golden Eagles’ lead to 8-6.

Point Park’s Shania James was placed at second base to start the Pioneers’ eighth. Zivic lifted a fly ball to center field, and James advanced to third. Then, a walk to McMurtrie and a hit batter on Brittney Fisher loaded the bases with one out.

Point Park’s Carly Rosso stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded and reached on an error. James scored the unearned run to cut the Golden Eagles’ lead to 8-7. But the snag of Geary’s shot to right and the strikeout that followed ended the game.

Point Park scored seven runs on seven hits and left eight runners on base. Cornerstone scored eight runs on 15 hits.

The Pioneers return home Friday and then the road again for their next games March 13 and 14 at Alice Lloyd College (Ky.) for the start of KIAC play.

Follow the Pioneers on Twitter @PointParkSports and @PPUSoftball.