By Drew Zuhosky
After an 8-5 victory over the University of Detroit Mercy highlighted by two home runs by junior infielder Miranda Castiglione on March 20, the Youngstown State University softball team looked to ride that momentum into Saturday’s doubleheader at the YSU Softball Complex. The magic continued with a sweep of the Detroit, 10-7 and 5-1, with a seven-run sixth inning during game one and five runs over the first two innings of the nightcap.
With the wins, YSU improves to 10-12 on the year, 3-0 in conference play. UDM falls to 1-20 on the season after the sweep, 0-3 in the Horizon League.
In game one, YSU plated three runs in the first inning after giving up an RBI by UDM center fielder Alex Astorga. The score remained 3-1 until the top of the fifth, when the Titans erupted for four runs on four hits, capped with a two-run single by Sarah Mauser, driving in Astorga and Katy Severson.
In the home half of the sixth inning, the Penguins battled back, starting with a two-run double by third baseman Stevie Taylor, plating infielder Sarah Dowd and center fielder Hannah Lucas. A Brittney Moffatt single brought Taylor and Castiglione home. Moffatt had three hits in the first game and a double in the second game, pushing her batting average up to .290.
Although relief pitcher Caitlyn Minney gave up two runs in the seventh inning, no further damage was done, preserving the victory — her first of the year.
In the nightcap, YSU got off to a quick start with a three-run home run by Taylor in the bottom of the first inning, giving the Penguins the lead for good. Dowd, who also stole two bases during the game, padded the lead with a two-run shot of her own an inning later.
YSU kept the 5-0 shutout going until the seventh inning, when third baseman Savanna Ferstle scored UDM’s only run of the game after second baseman Vanessa Garcia grounded out.
Kayla Haslett started both games of the doubleheader, pitching 11.2 innings all told with eight strikeouts and four earned runs. The second game on Saturday resulted in her third win, as well as her third complete game this season.
Moffatt said her team had a pretty good series.
“We got the sweep, so it was definitely good to start the conference season that way,” Moffatt said.
The infielder discussed her team’s seven-run burst in the sixth inning of game one.
“We all came together, putting some runners on base,” she said. “Then everyone just kind of came together. It was a pretty effective inning.”
Haslett discussed how much her defense supported her cause on Saturday.
“Our team just swept our first series,” Haslett said. “I was just thinking how my defense has my back. We had a mindset of ‘let’s just go at them this game and hopefully sweep the series’ and we did.”
Head coach Brian Campbell praised his team after the doubleheader sweep.
“I thought that Stevie Taylor did a really good job,” Campbell said. “She opened up the second game with the three-run home run in the first inning. I’m also really proud of Kayla Haslett and the way she came back after the first game to pitch a complete game, pitching truly well with five strikeouts.”
The Penguins return to action with a Wednesday doubleheader at home against Kent State University, with first pitch of game one scheduled for 3 p.m.