California (Pa.) settles to play in loser's bracket of PSAC tourney after split
QUAKERTOWN, Pa. -- Junior second baseman Shelby Lia posted a pair of homers at Veteran's Park on Thursday as California (Pa.) suffered a 3-2 loss to Bloomsburg before rallying for a 4-1 victory against Gannon in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) tournament.
With the split, the Vulcans moved to 34-3 overall with a 2-1 mark in the double-elimination tournament. Cal continues play in the loser's bracket on Friday when it faces West Chester at 1 p.m.
Against Bloomsburg (30-15), freshman Alex Sagl suffered her first loss since April 3 after allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits in 6.0 innings (103 pitches) with six strikeouts. Huskies ace Cait Paine (17-9) yielded two runs (both earned) on just two hits while striking out nine in 7.0 innings (79 pitches).
Following a scoreless first, the Huskies loaded the bases on a fielding error and back-to-back singles. Bloomsburg then drew a bases-loaded walk before Sagl registered a strikeout. The Vulcans recorded the second out of the inning when the runner on third was picked off, but both base runners advanced into scoring position on the play. Sagl ended the scoring threat with another strikeout.
Freshman third baseman Natalya Smarra opened the third with an infield single and Lia later belted a two-run homer, her 11th of the season. Bloomsburg answered with a two-run homer by first baseman Leann Bell in the bottom of the fourth to make it 3-2.
Paine retired the 14 consecutive batters following the Lia homer, while Sagl retired the last seven batters she faced. The two teams combined for only four runners left on base.
In an elimination game against Gannon (24-13), freshman Haley Bashada earned the complete-game victory after yielding one run (earned) on five hits with no walks and four strikeouts in 7.0 innings (85 pitches). Gannon sophomore Jess Rectenwald (3-5) was saddled with the loss after allowing four runs (all earned) on seven hits and two walks in 7.0 innings (104 pitches).
The Vulcans managed at least one base runner in each of the first four innings before taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the fifth. Smarra opened the inning with a single through the middle and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Freshman first baseman Lindsay Reicoff later collected a two-out RBI double to right-center field. Gannon countered with a run on a two-out double in the bottom of the inning.
After a scoreless sixth, Cal U took a 4-1 lead in the top of the seventh behind a three-run homer by Lia. She leads the team with 40 runs scored and 12 homers this year, which is two shy of tying the single-season school record. In the bottom of the inning, Bashada retired the Golden Knights in order to improve to 6-1 this year.
Lia finished the afternoon with a combined five RBI on two homers.