Lady Vulcans vs. Crimson Hawks

Vulcans split home doubleheader with IUP’s Crimson Hawks


Nate Kurtz

Vulcans Softball against IUP

Andrew White, Staff Writer

The Vulcans hosted their PSAC rival, IUP, in a doubleheader at Lilley Field in California, PA, on Tuesday, Mar. 28. The first game started at 2:30 p.m. with Sophomore Caleigh Rister who started on the mound for the Vulcans, where she delivered one heck of a performance for the Lady Vulcans.

The first inning went by without any action, as both teams were scoreless through the first 6 outs of the game. However, in the bottom of the second inning, Rister helped give herself some insurance by hitting a line drive to left-center field which resulted in her ending up at third base, with a triple. Rister went 2-3 in the game, with a triple and a run scored, as she made it home on a sacrifice fly that was hit by first baseman Alyssa Rose, a Junior for the Vulcans. This gave them an early 1-0 lead over the Crimson Hawks.

As the first game continued, Rister proved her dominance on the mound. She was able to pitch a complete game shutout as she pitched all seven innings, only allowed one hit, and struck out six batters. She only permitted two total baserunners throughout the game, one being a hit by Sophomore center-fielder Paige Truax of the Crimson Hawks, and the other being a walk. Rister improved her record to 6-3 on the season with an ERA of 1.35 and upping her strikeout total to 48 in 67.1 innings pitched and solidified her dominance among the PSAC conference.

The Vulcans continued to add onto their lead in the third inning on a solo-home run by Junior Charity Henderson, marking her third home run of the season, which surpassed her total of two home runs hit last season. Henderson leads the team in home runs so far this season. The Vulcans took that 2-0 lead into the late innings, and Rister was able to lock down on the mound to finish off the Crimson Hawks in game 1, 2-0 in favor of the Vulcans.

The second game of the doubleheader seemed to be going Cal’s way as well, as they were able to put a run on the board in the opening inning. Henderson delivered once again, hitting a double down the line to lead off the game for the Vulcans, followed by a single from Junior Britney Wilson which drove Henderson across home plate, giving Cal a 1-0 lead early on.  It seemed as though Cal was going to continue to add on to their lead as 2 walks and a wild pitch by the starting pitcher for the Crimson Hawks led to the bases being loaded with only 1 out. Rister reached base on a fielder’s choice, where the Crimson Hawks were able to get the force out at home plate to avoid falling behind even further, and giving them the second out of the inning, with bases still loaded. Alyssa Rose grounded out to third base to end the inning, leaving 3 runners on base.

IUP was quick to answer, however, earning a run on a sacrifice fly in the second inning, tying the game up at 1-1. The next few innings were mostly defensive, as neither team could get the bats going. There were only two hits combined between the two teams up until the sixth inning, when the Vulcans were able to retake the lead on a two-out single by starting catcher, Shayna Postler, a Junior from Bethel Park. This gave California a 2-1 lead going into the last inning.

The seventh inning started with a double by Junior outfielder Maghan Grill, followed by a single, resulting in a runner at first and third with nobody out. Freshman Jaycee Haidze then delivered a huge hit to left center field, driving in both runners on a double that gave IUP the lead, 3-2 late in the game. The Crimson Hawks added another insurance run on a sacrifice fly that advanced Haidze to third base, and a throwing error that led to her scoring, upping their lead to 4-2. California was unable to come up with an answer, with two of their last three batters striking out, making the result a 4-2 win for the IUP Crimson Hawks. Alyssa Rose was credited with the loss, dropping her pitching record to 1-5 on the season. 

The Hawks improved to 11-12 on the season, and 2-4 in conference play, as the Vulcans fell to 10-14 overall and a 3-5 record in conference play. These two teams will meet again with a doubleheader on Tuesday, Apr. 18 in Indiana, PA. The Vulcans will travel to Clarion on Friday to take on the Golden Eagles in a doubleheader, first game starting at 2 p.m.