By Joshua Laska – Sports/Managing Editor
The 24th ranked Vulcans posted four wins last week including two over Gannon who were tied with the Vulcans for first place in the PSAC West. The week began with a postponement of the Gannon series due to snow/rain. The Vulcans then traveled back to Gannon and came away with a 7-0 and a 10-4 victory. On April 13, the Vulcans returned home to take on Edinboro for senior day, which they came away with a 3-1 and a 10-0 victory. The 24th ranked California University of Pennsylvania Vulcans are now 30-6 on the season and 10-2 in the PSAC. With four games left before the PSAC Tournament the Vulcans sit atop the PSAC West.
Against Gannon, sophomore first basemen Shelby Lia led the way with three hits on four attempts. Lia batted in three runs and scored twice, including once from a two run home run. Sophomore second basemen Natalie Wideman came away with two hits and two runs scored, while senior third basemen Jillian Russell batted in one run on two hits. Senior left-fielder Kristen McKenzie scored once on one hit, freshman pinch hitter Madison Yanek collected one hit and sophomore designated hitter Stephani Ellis batted in two runs on one hit. Freshman right-fielder Shelby Heyd and classmate shortstop Breanna Morris both scored once on no hits.
On the defensive side of the diamond, Lia led with 12 putouts, followed by senior catcher Alyson Johnson with four. Heyd added two putouts, while freshman center fielder Katie Natter, Wideman and Morris added one each. Russell led the way with four assists, Wideman added three and Morris added two more. Sophomore pitcher Hope Spancake captured the win with seven innings pitched and only gave up one hit. She also picked up five strikeouts against the 25 batters she faced.
Lia again led the way with three hits on four attempts and picked up three runs with two batted in. Wideman added three hits and drove in two runs; Morris picked up two hits and two runs. Both Ellis and Heyd scored once on two hits, with Heyd also driving in one run. Natter scored once on one hit, while McKenzie scored once and drove in two runs on one hit.
Again on defense, Lia paced the way with 11 putouts. A. Johnson and Russell both added three putouts, while Natter, Heyd, Morris and McKenzie all added one putout. Sophomore pitcher Kaitlyn Schilling led the way with six assists, Morris added four while, Wideman and Russell added two and one assist, respectively. Schilling picked up her 11th win of the season only giving up four earned runs on seven hits in seven innings pitched. She picked up three strikeouts against the 30 batters she faced and only threw 70 pitches.
Wideman led the first game against Edinboro, with two hits on three attempts for a .667 batting average. She drove in one run and scored once herself. Russell drove in two runs on one home run, her 12th of the season. Lia scored once on one hit, while Heyd, Yanek and McKenzie all collected one hit each.
A. Johnson led the way with 8 putouts, followed closely by Lia with six putouts. Wideman and Natter both added two, while McKenzie, Russell and Morris all added one each. Morris led the way with four assists, followed by Wideman and Spancake added two. Spancake picked up her team leading 16th win of the season giving up one run on four hits in seven innings pitched. Spancake struck out eight batters on 96 pitches.
Morris led the way with two hits including her first home run of her Vulcan career. Morris drove in three runs on her home run and scored three times herself. Following Morris’ home run Lia followed with a solo home run of her own. McKenzie followed with another home run in the 3rd inning, all three home runs were in a row. McKenzie drove in two more runs on two more hits, as well. Wideman scored once and drove in one run on one hit, and was hit by three pitches. Russell and Ellis both scored once on one hit and drove in one run each. Russell also became one of only ten players in Vulcans history to collect 200 hits and leads the Vulcans all time with 46 home runs after hitting a home run in both games against Edinboro. Yanek and sophomore pinch hitter Paige Onuska both collected one hit each with Onuska also batting in one run.
On the defensive side of the diamond, Lia and A. Johnson led the way with six putouts each. Heyd and Wideman followed with two and one putout each, respectively. Morris and Schilling led with two assists each, while Wideman and Lia added one each. Schilling picked up her 12th win of the season only giving up two hits in five innings pitched and striking out six of the 17 batters she faced.
Spancake was named PSAC West Pitcher of the Week, for the third time this year and second straight week, after only allowing one run in 14 innings of work. Lia was named the PSAC West Player of the Week after hitting .727 with two home runs and scoring seven times.
The Vulcans return to action today, April 20, in Mercyhurst at 2:30 p.m. when they take on the Lakers. They then travel tomorrow to take on Slippery Rock at 1 p.m. to take on the Rock. After this weekend the Vulcans will look towards the PSAC Tournament April 25 to 28.