March 25, 2008

Wolverines open season in Florida

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The Grove City College softball team opened the 2008 season over Easter Break with an eight-game trip to the National Training Center March 14-19.

Grove City opened the trip Friday, March 14 with a 5-0 setback against Western Connecticut State. Senior catcher Abby Greiner (Pittsburgh, Pa./Thomas Jefferson) collected the Wolverines' lone hit. Freshman pitcher Lauren Pennell (Zelienople, Pa./Seneca Valley) yielded five earned runs in six innings. Pennell struck out two and walked just one.

The next day, Grove City dropped both ends of a doubleheader against Division II St. Michael's (Vt.). St. Michael's earned a 6-2 win in the opener, then rallied for a 6-5 win in the nightcap. Grove City forged a 5-5 tie in the top of the seventh of Game Two as sophomore outfielder Jessica Hodge (Grove City, Pa./Grove City) roped a two-run single that scored junior pitcher Amy Fisher (Streetsboro, Ohio/Cuyahoga Valley Christian) and freshman outfielder Brittany Young (Wellsboro, Pa./Wellsboro).

However, St. Michael's scored an unearned run in the bottom of the seventh to earn the win.

Hodge, senior center fielder Kristen Hughes (Volant, Pa./Grove City) and freshman shortstop Christine Slater (Aliquippa, Pa./Center) all doubled. Fisher also drove in a pair of runs. Fisher took the pitching defeat despite not allowing an earned run in six-plus innings.

In the opener against Medaille March 17, Pennell doubled as part of a 3-for-3 day, but Grove City fell, 5-2. The Wolverines took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first as Young walked and eventually scored on Hodge's groundout. Pennell fanned five in six innings and allowed just two earned runs.

Grove City picked up its first win of the trip in the nightcap as a six-run fourth inning vaulted the Wolverines to an 8-6 win. Fisher broke the inning open with a two-run double while Hughes added a triple in the rally. Fisher also scored two runs. Pennell recorded her first collegiate win by firing a complete game. She yielded three earned runs and 11 hits in seven innings.

Hodge collected three hits while Pennell doubled and singled March 18 in an 8-1 setback against NAIA Mount Mercy (Ill.). Hughes also went 2 for 3. Pennell took the pitching loss by allowing eight runs (all earned) in six innings.

Grove City concluded the trip with a doubleheader against Bethel (Minn.) March 19. Bethel picked up a 5-2 win in the opener, then defeated Grove City 12-4 in the nightcap. Pennell tossed 5 2/3 innings of relief in Game One and struck out four. She yielded just two runs.

In the nightcap against Bethel, Greiner belted a two-run double that gave Grove City a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first. However, Bethel responded with a seven-run outburst in the top of the second. Pennell pitched five innings and absorbed the defeat.

Grove City (1-7) will visit Penn State Behrend Thursday in non-conference action at 3:30 p.m.

Western Connecticut State Box Score

St. Michael's Box Score (Game One)                    St. Michael's Box Score (Game Two)

Medaille Box Score (Game One)                          Medaille Box Score (Game Two)

Mount Mercy Box Score

Bethel Box Score (Game One)                             Bethel Box Score (Game Two)

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