SU faces No. 5 Bloomsburg in the winner’s bracket semifinals

Junior Taylor Myers (Fayetteville, Pa./Chambersburg Area) drew a full-count walk with the bases loaded to help the Shippensburg University softball team defeat No. 3 seed in the West, Slippery Rock, in a thrilling eight-inning game to advance to the semifinals of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Softball Tournament. The Raiders defeated the Rock, 8-7 on Thursday morning at Veterans Park.

Shippensburg (30-18) got off to a hot start, taking a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Graduate Hannah Marsteller (Fredericksburg, Va./Riverbend) sent a bomb to the parking lot to score two runs.

The Raiders then loaded the bases as junior Morgan Lindsay (Hereford, Pa /Upper Perkiomen (Colgate)) and freshman Kaira Zamadics (Allentown, Pa./Northampton Area) drew walks and junior Alyssa Nehlen (Pulaski, Pa./West Middlesex) added onto her school record for hit by pitch.

Freshman Emilee Sullivan (Newville, Pa./Big Spring) came in clutch as she ripped a single to right field to give the Raiders a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first. However, Slippery Rock (29-23) was able to get a runner out on the play for the second out. Freshman Rilee Ehrlacher (Allentown, Pa./Northampton Area) drew a walk to re-load the bases but the Raiders were unable to score another run.

Designated player Zamadics started in the circle for the Raiders and got the first three batters out in each of the first two innings. The Rock got one run in the top of the third after back-to-back singles and then an RBI double to reduce the deficit to two runs.

Slippery Rock countered in the top of the fifth, scoring three runs to take a 4-3 lead. SU answered right back in the bottom of the fifth with a two-out, two-run single by freshman Caitlyn Martell (Morrisville, Pa./Pennsbury).

In the bottom of the sixth, Lindsay drew a walk and advanced to third after a double by Zamadics. Sullivan extended the lead to 6-4 with an RBI groundout to bring home pinch runner, sophomore Katelyn Minney (Lititz, Pa./Warwick).

Slippery Rock fought back in the top of the seventh and tied the game with an RBI single to left field and a sacrifice fly. Shippensburg was coming into the bottom of the seventh with sophomore Ally Weaver (Clear Spring, Md./Clear Spring) first and the top of the lineup. The Raiders had singles from Myers and Martell to have two runners in scoring position, however, SRU robbed the Raiders of a walk-off home run from Lindsay with a fly out to right field.

Slippery Rock answered in the top of the eighth with a solo home run and a 7-6 lead. Shippensburg’s middle and bottom of the lineup stayed patient and worked the pitcher with a single by Nehlen to center field, then Zamadics reached based on a fielder’s choice and advanced to second on a wild pitch.

Sullivan brought Zamadics home with a single down the right field line for a career-high three RBIs and tied the score 7-7. Ehrlacher singled down the left field line and had Sullivan in scoring position. Weaver took one for the team with a hit-by-pitch and loaded the bases with one out. Myers then drew ball four on a full count to bring Sullivan home and the victory.

It was Myers’ fifth walk of the season, and her second of the game.

Zamadics pitched 4.1 innings and had two strikeouts, while relief pitchers junior Maelynn Leber (Wrightsville, Pa./Eastern York) threw 2.0 innings, senior Hanna Phillips (Kirkwood, Pa./Solanco) threw 0.2 innings and got the important two outs in the top of the seventh. Sophomore Alicia Ball (Woodstock, Va./Central) got her seventh win of the season as she threw 1.0 innings and had a strikeout in the three batters she faced.

The Raiders will face Bloomsburg tomorrow at 10 a.m. The Huskies defeated Kutztown, 5-3.