Youngstown State split a doubleheader with Akron.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORT STAFF
CANFIELD -- The Youngstown State softball team used the long ball and clutch pitching to post a 3-1 victory over Akron Tuesday at McCune Park in the opening game of a doubleheader.
The Penguins (12-9-1) dropped the nightcap 3-2 in eight innings.
A trio of freshmen sparked the Penguins in the opening game as Kelly Murphy (8-3) tossed a three-hitter and Codi Bise and Liz Holt each hit home runs.
Murphy had a shutout going into the seventh inning when she gave up a leadoff home run to Akron's Kelly Quigley.
She retired 11 straight after giving up a first-pitch single to Sara Zilles in the opening inning.
"Kelly was hitting her spots today and pitched a great game," said YSU coach Christy Cameron. "And we were able to get two key home runs, which we really needed."
While Murphy was coasting along with four strikeouts and no walks, she got good offensive support from her teammates.
Bise put the Penguins on top 1-0 when she hit a one-out towering home run over the left-field fence in the second inning.
In the fourth inning senior Zetta Dumkrieger led off by reaching on an error and was forced at second when Amanda Berry tried to sacrifice.
Holt then connected on the first pitch off losing pitcher Megan Mackenzie and cracked a low line drive that easily cleared the fence in left field.
"I really haven't been satisfied with my hitting this season," said Holt, who went into the contest leading the Horizon League in hitting with a .357 average. "I'm not happy with my consistency, like today I struck out my first time up, but I was a little nervous and didn't feel real comfortable."
The Penguins had seven hits in the victory, two each by Bise and Char Kudlock, who also had two hits in the second game.
In the nightcap the Zips pushed across a run in the top of the eighth inning and the Penguins couldn't respond.
In extra innings, each teams begins with a runner on second base, and in the Zips case it was Becky Stern. She was sacrificed to second by Tracee McCoy and moved to third on Quigley's fly to right. Kerry Omerza followed with a single up the middle scoring Stern with the winning run.
The Penguins, who had six hits off winning pitcher Tina McCauley, had several opportunities to break the game open, but couldn't come through.
YSU pitcher Stephanie Hartman (5-5) allowed an unearned run in the first inning, but the Penguins came back to score two in the bottom of the inning that included a walk to Tiffany Patterson to lead off. She was sacrificed to second by Bise and then Dumkrieger doubled her home with a shot to right field. Dumkrieger scored on an error by the Zips shortstop.
The Penguins had the bases loaded with one out in the second, but Bise hit into an ending-inning double play.
They also had runners in scoring position in the fourth and sixth, but couldn't score.
"We had several opportunities to break the game open, but unfortunately we weren't able to get the hits, or get the bunts down to advance the runners when we needed to," Cameron added.
The Penguins will conclude this home stand with a doubleheader on Thursday against Robert Morris at 3 p.m. at McCune Park.