|RMU Ties Wins Record with Sweep of Youngstown|
Canfield, Ohio - The Robert Morris University softball team claimed a pair of run-rule victories over Youngstown State to tie the single-season school record for wins Thursday evening at McCune Park.
The Colonials won the opener, 8-0 in five innings, before finishing off the sweep in the nightcap with a 12-4 victory in six innings.
RMU notched its 33rd and 34th wins of the season, which matches the mark the 1997 squad set for the most in Colonial history. On the same day, the 2012 Robert Morris squad also moved into second place in single-season team history in runs scored (232), home runs (35) and strikeouts registered by its own pitchers (306).
Sophomore Cassie Show (Connellsville, Pa. / Connellsville) broke RMU's single-season school record for games played in the nightcap Thursday by appearing in her 54th contest of the season. Show, who has started 53 of those games at shortstop, reached base safely three times against the Penguins and came around to score a trio of times on the day.
Freshman Nicole Sleith (Smithton, Pa. / Yough) tied a significant school record as she twirled a four-hit shutout in the opener to tally her 24th win of the season, matching RMU's single-season school record. Sleith, who moved into the top 10 in single-season shutouts Thursday, tallied six strikeouts without issuing a walk or hitting a single batter. Sleith, who now has 126 strikeouts against just 14 walks in her past 17 starts, increased her season 'K' total to 227.
Junior Britta Grafton (Jamestown, Pa. / Jamestown) helped lead a balanced Colonial offensive attack as she went 4-for-6 with two runs scored on the day. Grafton, who surpassed 75 career hits on the day, was especially impressive in the opener when she went a perfect 3-for-3 to claim the 19th multi-hit game of her career and her second three-hit game of the season.
Senior Allie Patton (Poland, Ohio / Poland), playing just minutes away from her hometown, joined Grafton in having a three-hit effort. Patton started the nightcap and was a perfect 3-for-3 with two runs scored and a RBI. Her 35th career multi-hit game and her eighth career three-hit outing moved her career hit total to exactly 150. The pair of runs also moved the veteran into a tie for eighth in career runs scored with 93.
Senior Sarah Capp (McKees Rocks, Pa. / Montour) and freshman Tess Apke (Mt. Lebanon, Pa. / Mt. Lebanon) were the biggest run producers for the Colonials Thursday.
Capp nailed a homer and added two walks, a hit by pitch, a sacrifice fly and a steal and finished the day with five RBI and three runs scored. Her five runs driven in moved her into a tie for second in single-season school history (42) and into eighth place in career RBI with 84. Capp's homer, her seventh of the season, moves her into a tie for seventh in single-season hits (59) at RMU. Capp collected her team-leading 11th and 12th multi-RBI games of the season and the 22nd and 23rd such outings of her career.
Apke went 4-for-8 with a homer, four RBI and three runs scored. Apke's sixth long ball of the season gave her the sixth multi-RBI game of her rookie campaign and the second game this season with at least three runs driven in. She followed that up in the nightcap by knocking a trio of hits, posting her seventh multi-hit game and the first-ever three-hit game of her career.
Freshman Alexis Schwartzmiller (Carnegie, Pa. / Chartiers Valley) also contributed heavily to the RMU offense as she was 2-for-3 with two doubles, two walks, two RBI and a run scored. She tallied the second multi-hit and second multi-RBI games of her young season in the nightcap.
Apke launched a 1-1 pitch over the fence in left to give RMU an early 3-0 lead in the first inning of the opener as an error and a walk to Capp had put two runners aboard.
Sleith worked around a leadoff double in the home half by getting two groundouts and a swinging strikeout.
RMU blew the game open in the second when it scored five times. Sophomore Chelsea Siar (Glenshaw, Pa. / Shaler Area) walked before Grafton knocked an opposite-field single. One out later, Show followed with a single to right to load the bases. After an error brought home two runs, Capp struck with a blast to left to make it 8-0 in favor of the guests.
Sleith left two runners on base in the second before settling into a groove.
Senior Katrina Gallagher (Canonsburg, Pa. / Canon McMillan) and Grafton both singled in the third, but nothing would come of it.
Sleith retired the side in order in both the third and fourth on three groundouts, two strikeouts and two flyouts.
Siar walked and Grafton singled in the fifth, but RMU would not add anything further.
Sleith allowed a one-out single in the home half but got a strikeout and a lineout to close the shortened affair.
Capp moved into the top 10 in single-season homers at RMU with her blast.
RMU again wasted no time in jumping on top in Game Two. Show reached on a passed ball after a strikeout and Gallagher singled to open the frame. Capp would bring home the sophomore with a sac fly to center, and Gallagher soon scampered home on another passed ball. Apke would eventually single to right center on a 10-pitch at bat and Schwartzmiller walked on a full count, but a strikeout ceased further scoring.
Youngstown State got its first run of the day in the first when a pair of hits and a hit batter accounted for a run.
Neither team scored in the second, but RMU added to its edge in the third. Apke singled to right center with one down and came around to score on Schwartzmiller's opposite-field, two-out double.
RMU worked around a one-out single in the home half to maintain a 3-1 lead after three full frames.
The Penguins would pull closer in the bottom of the fourth when three straight hits with two outs brought home a run.
The Colonials added their insurance run right back as Grafton singled with two outs in the fifth and then came all the way around to score on Schwartzmiller's second double of the contest.
Youngstown State again added a single run when consecutive walks with two outs were followed by a RBI double.
Robert Morris broke the game wide open in the sixth inning by scoring eight times. Patton started it all with a single up the middle, and Show was then hit by a pitch. With one out, an error brought home one run, and Apke then knocked a single that drove home another. Siar followed with an opposite-field RBI single, and Schwartzmiller then walked to load the bases. An error on the Penguin infield with the next batter up allowed two runs to score. Junior Maritza Jimenez (Vineland, N.J. / Vineland) then recorded a RBI groundout before Patton knocked her second hit of the inning, and this time it drove home a run. The Penguins then issued walks to both Show and freshman Samantha Santillo (Ellwood City, Pa. / Lincoln) before Capp was hit by a pitch, forcing home a run.
Youngstown State nailed a solo homer with one out in the home half to pull within eight, 12-4. The Penguins left a runner on base, though, when the game ended on a flyout to right.
Sophomore Geena Badolato (Mt. Lebanon, Pa. / Mt. Lebanon) earned the win in the circle for the Colonials in the nightcap as she went the distance and allowed four runs.
Redshirt senior Jessica Calderone (Wilmington, Del. / St. Mark's) moved into sole possession of fourth place in single-season runs at RMU with 103.
RMU clinched the regular-season Northeast Conference (NEC) title this past weekend and the right to host the league's conference tournament. LIU Brooklyn, Quinnipiac and Monmouth will join the Colonials for the three-day, double-elimination event next week.
Robert Morris will now have a week off from competition as it will commence postseason play at the North Athletic Complex Thursday, May 10. The Colonials will take on the fourth seed at a time TBA.