This week, the No. 22 West Chester University Golden Rams softball team, ranked for the first time in the NFCA national poll, suffered some setbacks in their attempt to make their first ever appearance in the PSAC tournament. The Golden Rams split with the Shippensburg University Red Raiders on the road and dropped both contests to Edinboro University Fighting Scots on Senior Day at home.West Chester (26-10, 9-3 PSAC East) took game one of the doubleheader against the Red Raiders 3-1. Junior pitcher Brooke Muth pitched a complete game, giving up one run and scattering five hits over seven innings of play. She also struck out three and walked two Shippensburg batters.
The Golden Rams jumped out to a 2-0 lead as senior first baseman Megan Harbaugh hit a sacrifice fly that plated senior outfielder Evelyn Anderson. One batter later, freshman Missy Schwartz hit a double to left field, scoring senior shortstop Sam Ingersoll, who doubled earlier in the inning.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Shippensburg cut the West Chester lead in half. Jill Mullan started the inning with a double to right center. Dana Ward singled to third base and Lisamarie Ramagli walked to load the bases. Hope Cornell hit a sacrifice fly to right field to plate Mullan.
Muth got out of the inning as Courtney Steele grounded out to first and Kiley Abersold struck out to end the Red Raiders run.
The Golden Rams added an insurance run in the top of the sixth as Muth helped her own cause scoring on an error by Shippensburg to make the score 3-1 West Chester.
The Golden Rams finished with three runs, six hits and an error. The Red Raiders finished with one run, five hits and two errors in game one.
In game two, Ingersoll hit her team-leading ninth homerun of the season, but that was not enough as Cornell hit a grand slam for Shippensburg to come away with a 4-3 victory.
Both teams battled to a scoreless game until the fourth inning, when Ingersoll doubled home Anderson to score the game’s first run. Senior Stef Kerbacher grounded out to second base, but Muth scored to give the Golden Rams a 2-0 lead.
But in the fifth inning, the Red Raiders finally got their offense going. Meg Lehman singled to start the inning. Abersold and Ward walked before Cornell stepped to the plate and hit a grand slam to help Shippensburg gain control of the game.
West Chester was unable to mount a comeback as they split the doubleheader with their division rivals.
On Saturday, Ingersoll etched her name in the Golden Rams’ record books as she homered in each game to tie a school record for homeruns in a single season on senior day against Edinboro. Unfortunately, it was not enough as West Chester dropped both games of the doubleheader 13-4 in game one and 12-11 in game two.
In game one, the Fighting Scots jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead and never looked back as they dominated the Golden Rams. Edinboro scored four more runs in the third and two more in the fourth to end the game after five innings.
Muth suffered the loss as she lasted only one-third of an inning. Ingersoll knocked in three of the four runs in the opener.
In game two, junior Katie Kmiecinski smashed a grand slam in the bottom of the sixth inning that tied the score at 10-10. However, Edinboro’s Caiti Weber homered to lead off the top of the seventh to put the Fighting Scots back on top.
Ingersoll’s second home run of the day in the bottom of the seventh inning knotted things up and sent the contest into extra innings. It was her 11th home run of the season, tying former great Kristin Smereczynski’s mark set in 1997.
After Ingersoll tied things up in the bottom half of the seventh, Edinboro went up again in the eighth when Stephanie Cassidy got one up into the jet stream blowing out to left. The two teams combined for 23 runs and 33 hits, including six home runs in the nightcap.
Ingersoll went 3-for-4 with three runs scored in the game and upped her batting average .526 on the year.
This week West Chester wraps up the regular season as they host East Stroudsburg in a doubleheader on Tuesday beginning at 2:30 p.m. On Thursday, the Golden Rams travel to Lock Haven for a doubleheader beginning at 2:30 p.m.
On Saturday, West Chester finished off their division schedule as they travel to Millersville for a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. The Golden Rams finish off the regular season on Sunday at home against Shepherd beginning at noon.
The matchups against East Stroudsburg and Millersville are pivotal as West Chester looks for their first ever division title.
LJ Harrell is a fourth-year student majoring in Marketing. He can be reached at LH639694@wcupa.edu.