LOCK HAVEN - When Slippery Rock invaded Lawrence Field on Sunday afternoon for a PSAC softball twinbill with Lock Haven, the two games unfolded about as diametrically opposite as possible.
The first game was one which was played close to the vest in little more than an hour that resulted in a 1-0 LHU win. The second was one which saw a lot of different situations occur, some good and some not-so-pretty. When the issue was decided in the nightcap, SRU boarded its bus with a 9-8 win in 10 innings and a split in the doubleheader.
Although not happy with the split, LHU head coach Kelly Shannon was more upset with the lack of adjustments her players made during the afternoon than the loss.
In the opener, LHU got strong pitching from Brianna Jennings, flawless play from the defense and just enough hitting to score the only run that was going to be needed for the win.
Jennings worked 5 2/3 innings, allowing only three hits and no runs while striking out five and issuing a pair of walks as she pushed her season mark to a perfect 12-0. Sarah Morse was perfect in relief of Jennings as she retired all four SRU batters she faced to earn her third save of the season.
"Bree did a good job today and it has been a long weekend for us with three doubleheaders in a row," said Shannon. "She was doing a great job in the first game and we thought they (Rock hitters) were getting to her a little bit so we made the pitching change and it worked out for us. Then in the second game, she came in did what she had to do."
As for the winning run in the opener, that came in the third inning when with one out, Alyssa Smith beat out an infield single to third and went to third when Nicole Smith smacked a single to center. Alyssa Smith scored the only run of the contest when Alicia Cacciotti hit an RBI groundout to shortstop.
"I thought we did a good job defensively in the first game," said Shannon. "We got great pitching, but although we scored one run which was enough to win the game, we didn't make any offensive adjustments which is why we only scored the one run."
Just as cool, calm and collected the first game was, the second contest was one of those wild-and-wooly affairs.
Both teams scored a single run in the first three innings, while the Rock answered with a pair to go on top 3-1. LHU answered the SRU pair of runs with four to take a 5-3 lead, but SRU knotted the score at 5-5 with a pair in the fifth inning.
The Rock regained the lead at 8-5 on a three-run homer by Jenna Geibel before the Haven again came back to tie the game at 8-8 with a three-spot in the sixth to send the game into extra innings.
Neither team scored in their half of the eighth and ninth innings, but in the top of the 10th with the tie-breaker situation created where the inning begins with a runner on second base, SRU was able to plate a go-ahead run in the top of the 10th. When LHU couldn't answer the SRU run, the disappointing loss was in the books for the Lady Eagles.
"I didn't feel that we did a bad job defensively," said Shannon. "Your pitching is going to get hit around every now and then and there is nothing you can do about that. But the one thing that really bothers me is that we still didn't make any adjustments offensively and that has been the name of our game for at least the last six games. That is definitely something we have to change."
As for Shannon, the tie-breaker isn't one of her favorite rules.
"She (Jennings) came in and did what she had to do," Shannon said about her transfer from Delaware who lost for the first time this season. "I can't fault her for giving up that one run because they scored in a situation where you are supposed to score a run. I would rather play it (the game) out, but for the purposes of not being here all night, I understand why we have it."