The West Chester softball team kicked off its PSAC East schedule Tuesday at Shippensburg, losing both games of a doubleheader. The girls entered Tuesday with an 11-9 record and having won seven of their last nine, but fell 8-7 in game one, then 7-1 in game two. Shippensburg entered the doubleheader with a record of 14-8.The Golden Rams got off to a quick start in the first game with a first inning three-run homer by Kate Kmiencinski, then pushed their lead to four runs on a solo homer by Jessica Schuck in the top of the fourth inning.
Shippensburg answered right back in the bottom frame with two runs to cut the lead in half. In the fifth inning, Jillian Murray went deep for the Golden Rams to push the lead back to four with a two-run homerun, Shippensburg answered right back with four runs of their own to tie the game 6-6. West Chester scored a run in the top of the seventh to go ahead by one heading into the final frame.
The team was one out away from victory when Shippensburg hit a walk-off homer to give the Golden Rams their first conference loss. Kim Murl (5-6) pitched the entire game for WCU giving up six hits, five earned runs with seven strikeouts while walking two and hitting one batter. Murray went 2-for-3 batting with two runs scored and knocking in two, and Kmiecinski went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and three runs batted in, to lead the Rams.
In the second game Tuesday night, the Rams fell behind early giving up a run in the first inning then giving up another three runs in the bottom of the third. There was no scoring for the Rams until the fifth inning when West Chesters’ leftfielder Erin MacNamee doubled and shortstop Jessica Norris drove her in for the team’s only run of the game.
Shippensburg answered with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning making the final score 7-1. Kate Skokowski (0-3) pitched two innings before being lifted in the third inning and replaced by Devon Utterback who pitched the final four innings of the game. Skokowski gave up six hits and three earned runs while striking out one and walking one.
Utterback gave up four hits and three runs to go along with three strikeouts and one walk. MacNamee and Norris led the Golden Rams in hitting, with MacNamee having two doubles in two at-bats with a run scored, and Norris having 1-for-3 with one RBI.
The team will begin a six-game home stand on Friday March 25 with a doubleheader against PSAC East opponent East Stroudsburg at two; followed by the second at four. Saturday, the Golden Rams face Chowan with another doubleheader at one and three in a non-conference battle.
Riley Wallace is a second-year student at West Chester University. He can be reached at RW718681@wcupa.edu.