Senior day — the day every senior athlete looks forward to more than any other day of the season.
On Saturday, five Gannon University softball players — Alexa Archambeault, Alyssa Bates, Alison Benz, Rachel deGuia, and Sarah Di’Orio — were honored before playing their final home game at McConnell Family Stadium.
But the hype and excitement of this special day was all too short-lived for the Knights, as they dropped a pair to California University of Pennsylvania, 4-0 and 7-2, in a PSAC doubleheader.
Gannon rebounded in a big way the following day, however, taking the second game of a doubleheader on the road against Slippery Rock, 3-2, after losing the opener, 1-0, to lock up a berth in the PSAC Tournament for the sixth straight year.
The Knights, who finished regular season play 19-19 overall and 10-10 in PSAC play, go into the tournament as the No. 2 seed from the West.
Gannon will open tournament action at 3 p.m. Wednesday in Quakertown, Pa., against 13th-ranked West Chester, which won the PSAC Eastern Division with a record of 14-2 and 47-5 overall.
In Sunday’s regular-season doubleheader against host Slippery Rock, Gannon came out on the wrong end of a true pitchers’ duel, losing game one 1-0.
The game saw a total of nine hits, with seven coming from Slippery Rock batters. Olivia Gumbita took the loss, giving up seven runs and the lone run. She struck out seven and walked just one. Autumn Smith had both Gannon hits.
After a tough weekend up to that point, Gannon was able to turn things around and grab a clutch victory in the final regular-season game of the season.
The Knights took the early lead in this game, breaking the deadlock in the second inning on a deGuia single that sent scored Archambeault, who had reached on a double. Jen Moran doubled the Knights’ advantage as she scored on a passed ball in the sixth inning.
But Slippery Rock was able to rally for two runs in the bottom of the sixth to level things off at 2-2 going into the seventh and final inning.
Just when it looked like Gannon might have blown the game, Allie Salerno opened the seventh with a single, moved to second on Nathaly Pacheco’s sacrifice and took third on Smith’s single.
Bates then followed with a sacrifice fly, which proved to be the game-winner.
Five different Knight batters chipped in hits in the game. Kellyn Perich started the game but was relieved in the sixth inning by Gumbita, who ended up recording the victory and improving her record to 12-9.
In Saturday’s Senior Day action against California (Pa.), the Vulcans used two runs in the second and single runs in the sixth and seventh to beat the Knights, who managed just one hit – a single by Smith.
Gumbita was able to strike out at least eight batters for the sixth time this season, but her performance wasn’t enough to record the win for Gannon.
The Knights fell once again in the second game, as California jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first two innings.
Gannon pushed across a run in the second on singles by Pacheco, Archambeault and Salerno but they could do no more damage until Archambeault’s RBI double in the sixth inning.
Archambeault contributed two of the Knights’ five hits in the game while Moran, Pacheco and Salerno each added one.
Perich started the game on the mound but lasted only two innings and took her seventh loss of the season to go along with her six wins. Benz tossed the final five innings, allowing three hits and two runs.