Feb. 23, 2013
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – The University of Pittsburgh softball team (4-4) registered a pair of victories on Saturday afternoon at the Holiday Inn Hilltopper Classic with a 4-3 win against Western Michigan (2-6) in its first game, and a 6-4 triumph against the host Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (3-3) in its second game at Buchanon Park.
“I thought both games today were great team efforts,” head coach Holly Aprile said. “Holly [Stevens] had a great day at the plate offensively and behind the plate she called an excellent game against Western Kentucky. We had two good pitching performances by Alexa Larkin and Savannah King, and Savannah also sparked us at the plate. I think Carmelena [Moffa] showed a ton of poise coming into the second game and she took advantage of her opportunity. She was very solid at second base against WKU. The double play to end the game by Ashlee [Sills] was great. Those are not easy plays to execute and she and Holly both did a great job to get us out of a tough spot. I am looking forward to carrying this momentum into Sunday. We are having better at bats and that is key. I expect to continue to see that tomorrow, as well as a strong presence in the circle, as always.”
Game One: Pitt 4, Western Michigan 3
Holly Stevens hit two solo home runs to lead to the University of Pittsburgh softball team (3-4) to a 4-3 victory against Western Michigan (2-6) in the first of two games on Saturday afternoon at Buchanon Park.
Stevens increased her school record to 30 home runs with two round-trippers in the game, and reached the 100 RBI plateau with her first homer, which came in the top of the first inning and gave Pitt a 1-0 advantage.
Starting pitcher Alexa Larkin kept WMU off the scoreboard until the bottom of the third inning when Sabrina Gamboa singled home Emma Bogart who reached base with a leadoff double.
The Panthers regained the lead in the top of the fifth inning courtesy of freshmen Ashlee Sills and Tori Nirschl. With two outs, Sills reached base with a perfectly placed bunt, then stole second to get into scoring position. Nirschl then recorded an infield single that allowed Sills to score from second.
Pitt increased its lead in the top of the sixth as Stevens led off and absolutely demolished an offering from WMU pitcher Mackenzie Shepeck to straight away center field. Maggie Sevilla followed that up with a single, and then scored on a double to left center by freshman Taylor Henry, bringing the score to 4-1 in favor of the Panthers. It was Henry’s team-leading third double of the season.
The Broncos fought back with one run in the bottom of the sixth, and then threatened to win the game with a walk off as WMU loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh with one out. After a leadoff single, Savannah King replaced Larkin the circle. King sandwiched a strikeout in between two singles, but WMU could only mustard a sac fly with the bases loaded. King stuck out Shepeck to end the game.
Larkin pitched six innings while allowing six hits and striking out six Broncos. King registered her first save of the season.
Game Two: Pitt 6, Western Kentucky 4
Pitcher Savannah King threw a complete game and tallied three RBI as the Panthers (4-4) defeated Western Kentucky (3-3) by a score of 6-4 in Pitt’s second and final game of the day at Buchanon Park.
With WKU leading 1-0 in the top of the second inning, King roped a double to the left center field fence which scored Holly Stevens who was on first after a leadoff walk.
King would strike again in the top of the third inning with a bases loaded single which drove in two runs. With two outs, Tori Nirschl singled, which was followed by back-to-back walks from Stevens and Taylor Henry. King then laced a single to center to provide Pitt with a 3-1 lead.
WKU cut Pitt’s lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning when Katrina Metoyer smacked a leadoff single, was advanced to second on a groundout, stole third, and scored on an RBI single by Ciara Garcia.
In the top of the seventh inning, Pitt added three insurance runs which proved to be crucial. Kaila Balatgek and Ashlee Sills opened the inning with back-to-back singles, and then each advanced one base on a sacrifice bunt by Carly Thea. Two batters later, Stevens hit a two RBI single to center field and advanced to second on the throw home. Stevens would then score via heads up base running as she came home from second base on a wild pitch, increasing the lead to 6-2.
WKU put a rally together in the bottom of the seventh inning, highlighted by a one out, two RBI double from Amanda Thomas, which brought the score to 6-4. But with one out, as she did last night, Ashlee Sills in right field ended the game as she caught a fly ball then threw out the runner from third base trying to tag, giving Pitt the victory.
King finished 2-for-3 at the plate with three RBI, and went seven innings allowing 10 hits and four runs. Carmelena Moffa was the unsung hero of the game as she filled in for an injured Maggie Sevilla at second base and made numerous great plays to squash any WKU threats.
The Panthers conclude the Hilltopper Classic with two games on Sunday morning. Pitt’s first game is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. CST (10:30 a.m. EST) against Valparaiso, which will be followed by a game against Dayton at Noon CTS (1 p.m. EST).