Knights split Hurst, Boro doubleheaders

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A pair of Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference doubleheader splits left the Gannon University softball team with a 10-2 conference record going into yet another twinbill Wednesday afternoon against visiting California University of Pennsylvania.

The Knights (17-7 overall) split a doubleheader Tuesday on the road against Edinboro, winning the opener 7-6 before dropping the nightcap 8-4. This came on the heels of another break-even day against rival Mercyhurst over the weekend, losing 6-4 in the first game before winning the second game, 12-9, in 10 innings.

The Knights banged out 12 hits in Tuesday’s opening-game win over Edinboro, with Allie Salerno getting two of them and driving in two runs. Jess Rectenwald and Kaylyn Shaughnessy each added two hits and Schaughnessy scored twice. Olivia Gumbita earned her eighth win of the season.

In the nightcap, Edinboro used a six-run sixth-inning rally to overcome a 3-2 deficit and held on for the win. Katie Dunn had three hits while Alyssa Bates and Alexa Archambeault had two apiece.

In the opening-game loss to the Lakers, Gannon struck first after two scoreless innings. Rectenwald got aboard in the third with a single and Bates’ double drove her in.

Rectenwald, a starting outfielder and pitching ace, knew playing Mercyhurst was no easy win.  “Mercyhurst is a very talented team,” Rectenwald said.  “They were on their A game from the very start and we weren’t as focused as we needed to be.”

The Lakers responded in the bottom half of the third with three runs of their own.  Gannon tied the game in the fifth but again Mercyhurst answered with three runs for a 6-3 lead.

The Knights would get one run in the final inning but lost 6-4.

Alexandra Puckly (4-6) got the win for Mercyhurst and Gumbita (7-2) took the loss.

Game two of the doubleheader proved to be just as much of a back-and-forth battle as Gannon looked to avoid the sweep.

“After losing the first game we had to regroup because we were playing in 10 minutes,” Rectenwald said.

The Knights did regroup and built a 6-2 lead after three innings.  Freshman Jackie Martinez hit her first career home run in the top of the fourth to extend the lead to five runs.

But the Lakers managed to push across five runs in the fourth and fifth innings to tie the game at 7-7.

After a scoreless sixth for Gannon, Mercyhurst continued the hot streak and tacked on the go-ahead run on a solo home run.

Gannon was down to its final three outs.  That’s when Dunn came up big with an RBI-double to send the game into extra innings.

Two scoreless innings later and the Knights exploded for four runs in the 10th.  A double by Bates and a Dunn walk put two runners on before Archambeault broke the tie with an RBI-base hit.  A passed ball scored Archambeault and a fielder’s choice put the score at 12-8.

The Lakers added one run before three groundouts ended the doubleheader and gave Gannon its best start in conference play since joining the PSAC in 2009.

Rectenwald pitched a complete game for the win and Annie Truelove (4-8) pitched the last five innings in the loss.

ADAM BLAZEK

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