Softball splits en route to playoffs
The Gannon University softball team will look to defend its territory during a four-game home stand that will close out the last week of regular-season play.
The Knights took on Mansfield at home on Tuesday and split a pair of close games with the Mountaineers. Gannon took the first game 3-0 and lost the second by a 5-2 margin.
Junior shortstop Sam Scott said that although the team hit well in the first game, their offense went cold in the second.
“We didn’t hit and we made errors,” she said. “I feel like we were just so lethargic today and after we got down a couple of runs, we let up as a team.”
Despite the sluggish showing in the second game against Mansfield, Coach Tom Jakubowski said that the team is on the precipice of qualifying for PSAC playoffs, and is also in the hunt for an NCAA bid.
“Right now we’re hitting the ball extremely well,” he said. “That [NCAA bid] would be really sweet because nobody expected we would get that far this year, but we’re really close.”
The Knights’ recent wins over the weekend played a crucial role in putting them in this position. They dismantled a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics opponent in Point Park University on Friday by scores of 16-3 and 15-2.
Jakubowski said that he was happy with the way the team hit the ball against a solid Point Park lineup.
“We have really turned it up a notch,” he said. “We played a really good Point Park team, who has a tremendous batting average, and we had been struggling.”
The Knights’ bats certainly weren’t struggling against the Pioneers, as Gannon cranked out nine home runs in just two games with 10 different players recording hits.
“Nine home runs,” Jakubowski said. “I talk about it now and I literally can’t believe it happened.”
Freshman outfielder Megan Cunha accounted for three of the home runs, while also driving in eight runs and scoring five times in Gannon’s two-game rout of Point Park. Cunha was 5-for-8 from the plate.
Jakubowski characterized Cunha’s home runs as “majestic.”
“They probably went 260, 270 feet,” he said.
Jakubowski said the highlight of the evening, though, was senior outfielder Lindsay Corbett’s first career home run.
“Everyone just loves Lindsay, and the fact that she hit that home run was really great.”
Jakubowski said that it is always good to see seniors, including Corbett, an Erie, Pa., native, contribute to the team like that.
“Those are special moments,” he said.
Megan Dragon earned the win for the Knights, pitching for five innings. The junior allowed just five hits and struck out four batters.
Gannon went on to split Saturday’s matchups against Mercyhurst University. The Knights’ bats remained hot, but in the first game they allowed the Lakers to get a seven run lead going into the last inning. Though they tallied five runs in the seventh, it wasn’t enough to overcome the early deficit and Mercyhurst held on to record the 10-8 victory.
“We’re like Jekyll and Hyde,” Jakubowski said. “When we hit the ball, we hit the ball like crazy, and when we don’t we’re terrible.”
The Knights were able to bounce back, however, and carry their late momentum into the second game, where they, according to Jakubowski, “clubbed” the Lakers by a score of 10-2.
Scott led the team with two homeruns; her first since her freshman year.
The Knights continue their home stand this week with four more games against two opponents. The team will take on Slippery Rock University Thursday at 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. and Edinboro University Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Jakubowski said that if the Knights stay focused, they will have a good chance of going deep into the postseason.
“If we just make the plays that we should make, we’ll be okay,” he said. “We’re very excited about what the end of the season can hold for us.”
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