The Gannon University softball team opened its season on a high note in Clermont, Fla., over spring break, posting seven wins in the 11 games played there.
Gannon opened its season Feb. 26 with a 5-0 win against Tiffin University. Kherrin Morgan scored the Knights’ first run of the season when she hit a home run in the second inning.
Gannon plated two more runs on a single from Taylor Wilp that drove home Sarah Ingerick and Morgan in the fourth inning. The Knights added to their lead on Allie Salerno’s RBI single, making it 4-0.
Gannon’s final run came in the sixth inning when Jen Moran hit a double, chasing home Jackie Martinez to make it 5-0.
Wilp went 2-for-4 with an RBI out of the leadoff spot. Martinez finished 2-for-3 and scored a run. Senior Olivia Gumbita tossed a complete game, allowing only four hits. Gannon won its season opener for the fourth time in the last five years.
Gannon picked up two more victories on Feb. 27 against Michigan-Dearborn and Point Park. Martinez’s RBI double gave the Knights a 1-0 lead and Gumbita kept Michigan-Dearborn’s bats quiet, including a 1-2-3 inning in the fourth.
The fifth inning began with a Wolverine error. Morgan followed with an RBI single to make it 2-0, and that’s how it ended. This was the first loss for the Wolverines after they started 3-0.
Wilp went 3-for-4 with a run scored out of the leadoff spot, while Martinez finished 2-for-4 with an RBI. The second game of the day included a 3-1 victory over Point Park. Kellyn Perich started in the circle for Gannon, and Point Park strung together a pair of hits in the fourth to take a 1-0 lead.
Martinez doubled to begin the fifth inning for Gannon, and the Knights eventually scored on freshman Lisa Szajn’s suicide squeeze.
The Pioneers attempted a throw to third, but a second run from Gannon scored on the attempt to get the runner at third base, giving the Knights a 2-1 lead.
Szajn added the only other run of the game with a solo home run – the first of her career — in the sixth.
Madi Beining picked up her first career save as a Knight, tossing three scoreless innings.
Gannon continued its streak on Feb. 28 with a pair of wins against Lake Erie College and Wheeling Jesuit.
Gumbita took her 14-inning scoreless streak into the game and continued her dominance through the first two innings. Lake Erie slipped a lead-off single and worked the runner over to third before she was brought home.
It wasn’t until the sixth inning that Gannon plated its first score.
Martinez recorded a two-out single and Rachel Tanilli came into pinch run. Tanilli stole second and scored on Moran’s single. The Knights scored the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh on three two-out hits by Perich, Ingerick and Wilp.
The Knights’ 2-1 win matched their longest win streak from a year ago, and they added to it with a 5-2 victory over Wheeling Jesuit in the second game of the day.
Szajn doubled and following a Maria Taliani single, she scored on Ingerick’s infield single.
A WJU error allowed Taliani to sprint home on the same play. Gannon added another run in the fourth, pushing the Knights to a 3-0 lead. Wheeling Jesuit scored twice in the bottom to reduce the gap to 3-2 but Gannon eventually posted a 5-2 victory.
Martinez led the Knights with three hits, and Taliani hit her first career home run. The win was Gannon’s fourth straight.
Following a 7-0 loss to Ursuline on Thursday, the Knights came back with another win the same day, 4-0, over the College of Saint Rose.
In the fifth inning, Gannon got the ball rolling on Salerno’s leadoff double and Autumn Smith’s RBI single.
Gannon got three more runs in the seventh inning as Smith and Martinez doubled, driving home three batters between the two.
The last win during the Florida trip was a 7-3 victory against Bellevue University. Gannon jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a Morgan home run posted by Morgan. Wilp also contributed a three-run homer, and Szajn added an RBI double.
Gannon will head to Salem, Va., for five games in three days starting Friday. The Knights look to extend its record of 7-4 on Friday against the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia at 1 p.m. and Tiffin at 5 p.m.