The KU softball team swept West Chester University in a rain-postponed doubleheader on Sunday, April 14 at North Campus Field, outscoring the Golden Rams 11-2 in their 1-0 and 10-2 victories, respectively.
The Golden Bears (21-17, 6-4) and West Chester (26-13, 4-6) were tied for second in the PSAC East standings, but with KU’s wins on Sunday, they moved past the Golden Rams for sole position of second place in the conference behind Shippensburg University.
Junior outfielder Jackie Hetzler knew the implications for this series and said, “By beating them [West Chester], we were able to have second [place] in the conference. West Chester really came out wanting to beat us, so it felt good getting those two wins.”
Game one’s low-scoring affair entailed a pitching duel, with only one run and seven total hits in the game. The Golden Bears’ lone run was scored by Maria Isgro in the second inning on a fielding error by the third basemen.
Dominique Ficara (12-10) earned the complete game victory. Even though KU committed four errors, Ficara was able to minimize the mistakes, allowing five hits while striking out four in the shut-out, her sixth of the season.
Brianna Knipe’s bunt-single in the second inning advanced Isgro to second base after her lead-off walk. Isgro eventually scored the deciding run on Jessica Kurtz’s sacrifice bunt that was misplayed by the Golden Rams’ third basemen.
Katie Lynch had the only other hit for KU, also a single.
In game two, the Golden Bears notched the victory behind a great pitching performance by sophomore Mary Kociencki and timely hitting by Knipe and Kurtz, who both went 2-3.
In the bottom of the third inning, KU had some help from West Chester’s defense, scoring two runs on two errors after a lead-off walk.
West Chester immediately answered in the next half inning, scoring two runs of their own on three hits, two of them doubles by Kim Murl and Jillian Murray.
With one out in KU’s half of the fourth inning, Knipe singled to center field to advance Isgro to second base after she reached on a walk. After a Nicole Henninger walk loaded the bases, Danielle Sienko struck-out looking for the second out of the inning. With a chance to give her team the lead, the clutch Kurtz singled in two runs to ultimately decide the game.
The Golden Bears continued their torrent of hitting in the fifth inning, scoring six runs on six hits. The game concluded when Hetzler hit a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Danielle Miller to put KU up by eight runs subjugating West Chester to the mercy rule.
Kociencki (8-7) picked up the win for KU, throwing five innings and allowing two earned runs on four hits with five strike-outs.
Knipe was awarded the PSAC East Softball Athlete of the Week award for her defensive performances and streaky hitting. She led the team with a .550 batting average as the Golden Bears went 7-1 last week.
The lady Golden Bears next game is scheduled for Friday, April 19 at North Campus Field for a PSAC East doubleheader against Millersville University starting at 2:30 p.m.
By William Felo