The IUP softball team was able to build some momentum heading out of a weekend of doubleheaders, taking a pair of victories following nine games without a win.
The Crimson Hawks dropped both games to Mansfield on Tuesday to add to that streak but earned two decisive victories against Clarion at home Wednesday.
IUP went into Tuesday’s first game looking to pick up a victory for the first time since March 15, not to mention trying to win its first games in the Keystone State all season – its only victories up to this point had been in West Virginia or Florida.
The Crimson Hawks started the game strong with their defense holding Mansfield for the first three innings. IUP only faced four batters in each of the first two innings and did not let any batter past second base in that time frame.
The Crimson Hawks’ offense was also cruising to start the game. IUP picked up at least one hit in every inning. In the third inning, it was finally able to capitalize as a single by Lauren Goetz (senior, art) plated the first run of the game.
However, the lead did not last long as the top of the fourth inning opened the gates for Mansfield, and it took a 4-1 lead. IUP was never able to fully come back from that despite a home run by Renee Wall (sophomore, criminology) and another RBI from Goetz. The Crimson Hawks lost game one 5-4.
Game two was rough for IUP. After taking an early 1-0 lead in the first inning off a single by Wall, the game sharply went downhill. Mansfield scored in all but the fourth inning in the remainder of the game as it handed IUP a 9-2 loss.
After a duo of hard-luck losses, Clarion came to Indiana on Wednesday for a doubleheader.
In game one, offense no longer was an issue for the Crimson Hawks. After scoring six runs total in the two games Tuesday, IUP scored 17 runs in just game one Wednesday. Jenna Rhue (freshman, criminology) brought home six runs, and Renee Wall drove home four as IUP picked up the 17-5 victory.
The Crimson Hawks kept their offense rolling in game two, but their defense took a step back. IUP took an early lead off of a two-run third inning that put them up 3-1. However, a four-run bottom of the third inning and a three-run home run in the fifth inning quickly left IUP trailing 8-3.
In the sixth inning, the Crimson Hawks began their comeback. Five players drove in runs for the Crimson Hawks as they scored seven runs in the inning.
Another two runs were scored in the seventh as IUP picked up its second win of the day, 12-8.
Tuesday and Wednesday saw almost exact opposite IUP teams with the Crimson Hawk offense and defense showing up at completely different times.
“We need to improve on our mental toughness,” Goetz said. “We are a talented team but very young. When times get tough, the inexperience shows. To improve our efficiency, I think we need to stop looking for walks and swing early in the count.”
The Crimson Hawks will have a pair of doubleheaders once again, looking to continue their newfound winning streak, as Bloomsburg comes to Indiana Saturday before IUP heads to Lock Haven Sunday.