By Daniel Whitehead
BRIDGEWATER, Va. —Seeking its first Capital Athletic Conference victory, the Southern Virginia University softball team accomplished the feat by winning the first game of a doubleheader at Penn State Harrisburg, 2-0, Saturday afternoon in Middletown, Pa. The Nittany Lions came back to win the second game, 10-6.
In a defensive battle, neither team could put points on the board until the Knights scored twice in the top of the seventh inning to earn the win. In three separate innings of the game, Southern Virginia left one runner stranded and could not bring her in. In six instances, PS Harrisburg left a runner on base to end the inning and could not capitalize on scoring opportunities.
In the top of the seventh, the Nittany Lions earned two quick outs as freshman McKell LaJeunesse was struck out and Morgan Young popped up to the short stop. Jamie Pinkston singled before Lainie Thompson reached on an error by the third baseman to allow Pinkston to get to third.
Freshman Kelsey Bair was brought in to pinch hit and the move paid off as she tripled to right field to score Pinkston and Thompson for unearned runs. At the bottom of the final inning, the Knight defense clamped down to earn a three-and-out with two fly outs and a pop-up.
Pinkston enjoyed a solid outing on the mound as she allowed just four hits and walked only two batters to improve the Knights' odds. Gabrielle Wolf picked up the loss for PS Harrisburg.
The Nittany Lions got to work quickly in the second game by scoring one run apiece in the opening two innings.
Southern Virginia tied it up in the fourth when freshman McKenzie Packard singled up the middle to score Katie Evans. LaJeunesse then reached first on an error by the catcher that allowed Packard to sneak in for an unearned run.
At a 4-2 deficit, PS Harrisburg scored five runs in the bottom of the fifth to go up, 7-4, with two innings remaining.
LaJeunesse and Evans would each bring in runs in the sixth and seventh, respectively, but it was not enough to come back as the Nittany Lions added three runs in the sixth en route to the 10-6 win.
Pinkston pitched 4.1 innings in the second game before being relieved by first baseman Sara Harmon in the bottom of the fifth. Harmon picked up the loss as she walked six batters and allowed five runs in 1.2 innings of work.
The Knights return to action Wednesday as they take on Randolph-Macon on the road for a non-conference matchup. Senior Day is Thursday at 5 p.m. as Southern Virginia takes on Eastern Mennonite.