The West Chester University softball team entered this past week on a four game winning streak with a record of 15-11. On Monday, March 28 the Rams split a non-conference doubleheader with University of the Sciences of Philadelphia (2-16), winning the first game 3-1 but falling in the second game 3-4. The team then took on PSAC (Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) East conference foe, Millersville (11-13) on Wednesday in another doubleheader, losing game one 4-3, then winning game two 5-2.
The Golden Rams got all the offense they needed early in the first game, scoring three runs in the second inning, giving pitcher Devon Utterback all the room she needed in a complete game win. Allowing just two hits and only one run in the sixth, Utterback (9-2) dominated the devils from start to finish Monday afternoon.
Leftfielder Erin MacNamee drove in third baseman Jessica Schuck and rightfielder Brianna Rowlands with a single, and shortstop Jessica Norris followed with a single of her own that knocked in MacNamee. That was the only scoring for a while, until USP managed a single run in the top of the sixth.
The Rams scored their three runs on seven hits and took advantage of the three errors committed by University of the Sciences. Utterback received the win while Devils pitcher Gina Murray (0-3) got the loss after giving up three earned runs through four innings. Utterback gave up one run on two hits, striking out 11 batters, while walking three. Schuck and Rowlands each had two hits in three at-bats, and MacNamee and Norris each had a hit while batting in one and two runs, respectively.
The Lady Rams fell behind early in the nightcap only to climb back into the lead. A two-run homerun in the seventh ultimately did the Rams in, losing 4-3. The victory for University of the Sciences was their first against West Chester since 1992.
USP jumped out to the early lead with two runs in the first, but WCU responded with two runs of their own in the third. Centerfielder Megan Kelly hit a solo homerun, her third of the season, and MacNamee doubled down the line and eventually scored on an error by USP.
The Lady Rams took the lead in the sixth inning when Schuck singled and Mandy Gerhart pinch ran for her, and was batted in by Rowlands. USP had one final chance left with basemen Courtney Corcoran up to bat. She hit a two-run homer to put the Devils ahead for good. Kim Murl fell to 7-7 after pitching 6.1 innings, allowing seven hits and four runs while striking out four and walking one. Utterback relieved Murl for the final two outs and had one strike out. Courtney Spina improved to 2-6 after pitching all seven innings and giving up seven hits to go along with six strikeouts and two walks.
The Rams were led on offense by Schuck who had two hits in three at-bats and Rowlands who went 1-for-3 with a run batted in.
West Chester kicked off its second doubleheader of the week Wednesday afternoon at Millersville, once again falling behind early after giving up a run in the first inning. The Marauders added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth before West Chester finally got on the board when catcher Kate Kmiecinski hit a solo homerun in the sixth frame, pushing the final score to 3-1. Utterback (9-3) picked up the loss after pitching 4.1 innings. She give up five hits and three runs while striking out six to go along with four walks and a hit batter.
Murl relieved Utterback and finished the game facing four batters, striking out one and walking one. Millersville’s pitcher, Signore, picked up the win tossing all seven innings to push her mark to 3-4 on the year. The Rams were led on offense by Kmiecinski along with second basemen Abby Block and Kelly who each had a double in three plate appearances.
In the second game of the doubleheader against Millersville, the Rams took a three run lead in the third and never trailed thereafter. The Marauders added a run in the bottom of the fourth, but West Chester answered right back with two of its own in the top of the fifth, before Millersville added one more in the bottom of the frame to give the Lady Rams the victory at 5-2.
Block went the distance in the third for a two-run homer, and Murl pitched all seven innings in the win to make her record 8-7 on the year. Murl gave up eight hits but only two runs while striking out six batters and not walking any. For Millersville, Hughes (6-6) picked up the loss after pitching only 3.1 innings before being relieved by Eckman who finished the game.
The Rams put together a lot of success on offense, led by Block’s homer. MacNamee went 3-for-4 with a triple and a run scored. Rowlands added two hits of her own and a run batted in.
The Lady Rams have a busy week ahead of them, playing four doubleheaders in five days beginning with Shippensburg on Tuesday, April 5 and Lincoln on Wednesday April 6, both at home.
Riley Wallace is a second-year student at West Chester University. He can be reached at RW718681@wcupa.edu.