YSU had 21 hits to sweep the doubleheader against Robert Morris.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
CANFIELD -- The Youngstown State softball team won only 11 games all of last season. The Penguins already have 14 victories this season, which is just half over.
The Penguins produced wins 13 and 14 Thursday, pounding Robert Morris 7-0 and 12-1 at McCune Park.
YSU had 21 hits in the two games and outstanding pitching from freshman Kelly Murphy in the opener and senior Stephanie Hartman in the nightcap, which went only 41/2 innings because of the 8-run rule.
Fourth-year coach Christy Cameron was excited about this team before the season and hasn't let her down.
"The difference between this year and last year is that we're playing good solid defense, getting some great pitching and we are coming up with the timely hits when we need them," Cameron said.
The Penguins (14-9-1) will go for their first Horizon League victory this weekend, at Wright State, a three-game series which starts Saturday. YSU was 1-13 in the league last year and in the first series against Detroit this season was canceled by weather, although the teams played to a 3-3 tie in one game.
"This sweep gives us some momentum," said Cameron. "But the key will be, can we continue to do the little things that we've been doing the last few games?"
Murphy (9-3) has allowed just eight hits in her last three starts and was in control Thursday.
But home runs in the seventh inning of her last two starts ruined shutouts.
"At least I didn't give up a home run in the seventh inning again," Murphy said. "It was only a double this time, maybe next time I can get it down to a single and who knows, maybe nothing at all."
She struck out four and walked one, the only extra base hit a double by Maggie Pope in the seventh. Robert Morris threatened only once, loading the bases with one out in the fifth, but Murphy pitched out of the jam.
Offensively the Penguins were led by freshmen Tiffany Patteson and Liz Holt, each with three hits, and junior Lacey Reichert, who hit a two-run homer in the sixth and singled. Amanda Berry also had two hits, including a double.
Robert Morris committed four errors in the first game.
In the second game Hartman scattered four hits and was never in real trouble. She was ahead 10-0 when the Colonials scored their only run, which was aided by a Penguin error.
The Penguins had 10 hits, with Berry collecting a double and a 3-run home run, her fourth of the season and seventh of her career.
YSU scored five runs in the first inning with the help of three walks by losing pitcher Erica Riggle, as YSU sent 10 batters to the plate.
Hartman (5-5) struck out three and didn't walk a batter.