The Shippensburg University softball team clinched a playoff berth in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) tournament by sweeping Millersville University on Saturday afternoon.
The Raiders (24-20, 9-7 PSAC) defeated Millersville, 11-5 and 10-3, to clinch second place in the PSAC Eastern Division at Seaber Stadium in Millersville.
The Raiders’ bats exploded against Millersville’s pitching, totaling 25 hits and nine walks on the day. Shippensburg combined for 21 runs, the most scored by the team in a PSAC East doubleheader since the 2005 season. All nine starters totaled at least one hit, with eight hitters tallying more than one hit on the afternoon.
The scoring began early, with the Raiders putting up four runs in the first inning of Game 1. They added three more runs courtesy of a three-run homer by freshman Hannah Marsteller in the second inning, increasing their lead to 7-1.
Senior Taryn Wilson received the win on the mound for the Raiders, allowing five runs and 10 hits while also striking out 10.
The Raiders continued their hitting onslaught against Millersville in Game 2, scoring 10 runs and receiving an excellent performance on the mound from freshman Tressa Kagarise. She tossed a complete game in the victory, allowing three runs and striking out 15 hitters.
Shippensburg scored six of their 10 runs in Game 2 in the second inning. Freshman Morgan DeFeo broke the game open when she drove in two runs with a single in the second inning to make it 4-0. From that point on the Raiders held control of the game.
The Raiders finished out their regular season with a PSAC doubleheader against East Stroudsburg on Sunday afternoon at Robb Field. The team brought its torrid hitting from Saturday into Sunday, although it wasn’t enough to avoid getting swept by an equally hot East Stroudsburg team, 8-7 and 12-11.
Game 1 of the doubleheader went back and forth. The game was tied 4-4 heading into the final inning of play before the Raiders’ pitching fell apart and allowed the Warriors to put two runs up on the board. However, Shippensburg fought back to tie the game on a two-run home run by sophomore Courtney Coy.
The SU pitching continued to struggle on Sunday afternoon, allowing two more runs as Game 1 went into extra innings. The Raiders, who totaled 13 hits in Game 1, continued to try to fight back. They made it a one run game, 8-7, on an RBI double by freshman Hannah Johnson. SU had a chance to tie or win the game when they loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning. However, Marsteller popped out to shortstop to end the game.
In Game 2, The Raiders did not take long to take a lead, scoring four runs in the bottom of the first inning to take a 4-1 lead. Marsteller opened up the scoring with an RBI single and later scored on a two-RBI single by freshman Lacey Hunter.
East Stroudsburg scored four runs in the top of the fourth inning to take the lead 5-4. However, they didn’t hold the lead for long. SU took the lead right back with a five-run bottom of the fourth inning, headlined by a Marsteller three-run homer.
The Raiders added some insurance runs on a two-RBI single by Marsteller to increase their lead to 11-8. However, senior Taryn Wilson, who came into the game in the fourth inning in relief of Kagarise, struggled through three innings of work, coughing up the game by allowing eight runs (six earned) in three innings of work.
East Stroudsburg scored four runs in the final frame to take a 12-11 lead.
Hannah Marsteller led the way at the plate for the Raiders throughout the week. She wrapped up the week with two homers and 13 RBIs. She finished the season hitting .277 with a team-leading nine home runs and 41 RBIs.
The Raiders are the second seed in the PSAC Eastern Division and are scheduled to play either Mansfield University (17-12, 11-6 PSAC) or Lock Haven University (26-16, 12-6 PSAC) in the first round of the PSAC tournament at 3 p.m. on Wednesday in Quakertown.