Conkey, Pica continue scorching-hot paces

Staff Report

Rio Grande’s Mary Pica greets her teammates at home plate after belting yet another home run.

Rio Grande’s Mary Pica greets her teammates at home plate after belting yet another home run.

Submitted Photo

Saturday, April 21

Game 1 — Rio Grande 3, Point Park (Pa.) 0

Game 2 — Rio Grande 6, Point Park (Pa.) 0

The entire 2018 season has been an offensive struggle for the Point Park University softball team.

It was a case of “second verse, same as the first” for the Pioneers on Saturday afternoon against the University of Rio Grande.

The RedStorm celebrated Senior Day by limiting their guests to just six hits in a pair of shutout victories – 3-0 and 6-0 – at Rio Softball Park.

Rio Grande finished the day at 30-11 overall and 14-2 in River States Conference play.

Point Park slipped to 10-18 overall and 7-7 in league play as a result of the sweep.

Junior Kelsey Conkey tossed a four-hitter in Rio’s game one triumph, striking out six en route to a 15th win in 17 decisions.

Senior Mallory Powell the reigning RSC Pitcher of the Week and one of four RedStorm players honored in ceremonies prior to the start of the twinbill, tossed her second two-hit shutout in as many days in the nightcap.

Rio Grande had just five hits of its own in the first game — four of which went for extra bases.

Sophomore Michaela Criner gave the RedStorm the only run it would need in the third inning with a solo home run, her 12th circuit-clout of the year.

The RedStorm added two more runs in the fourth on a leadoff double by Conkey, a one-out RBI double by freshman Mary Pica and a run-scoring single by junior Carly Skeese.

Conkey finished with two doubles in the winning effort.

Maddie Horn had two of Point Park’s four hits, while Katie Tarr started and took the loss for the Pioneers.

In game two, Powell was locked in a scoreless pitcher’s duel with PPU starter Ashley Iagnemma until Rio erupted for six hits and four runs in the fifth inning.

Conkey had an RBI single and Powell helped her own cause with a two-run single to highlight the scoring spurt.

The RedStorm tacked on two more runs in the sixth thanks to an RBI double by sophomore Lexi Philen (Tallmadge, OH) and a sacrifice fly by Conkey.

Freshman Kayla Slutz finished 3-for-3 in the victory.

Game 1 — Rio Grande 12, Carlow (Pa.) 2

Game 2 — Rio Grande 1, Carlow (Pa.) 0

Friday’s sweep of a River States Conference softball doubleheader against Carlow University found the University of Rio Grande at both ends of the spectrum.

The RedStorm used a pair of big innings to throttle the Celtics, 12-2, in the mercy rule-shortened opener of the twinbill, while a solid pitching performance from Powell fueled a 1-0 win in the nightcap at Rio Softball Park.

Rio Grande improved to 28-11 overall and 12-2 in league play with the wins, putting itself back into a tie for first place in the RSC standings with Indiana University Southeast in the process.

Carlow dropped to 13-12 overall and 5-7 in the RSC as a result of the sweep.

The day started well for the Celtics, who touched up Conkey for two runs and four hits in the first inning of the opener.

Carlow managed just two hits and no runs for the remainder of the day.

The third of the four first inning hits – a single by Abby Tatgenhorst – gave the Celtics their 2-0 lead, but Rio Grande got a three-run home run from Criner to highlight a four-run second inning which gave the RedStorm a lead they would never relinquish.

Rio finished off the win by scoring eight times in the fifth inning. Pica had a two-run home run, Slutz had a run-scoring double, Criner — the reigning RSC Player of the Week — had a two-run triple and Conkey hit a three-run walk-off home run to end the game.

Criner finished 3-for-4 with five RBI, while Conkey had two hits and three RBI. Skeese and Kelly Fuchs added two hits each in the win.

Conkey earned her 14th win in 16 decisions in the pitcher’s circle, allowing four hits and the two runs while striking out three.

Alysa Fairman had a double and took the loss as the starter for Carlow, allowing six hits and four runs over 3-2/3 innings.

In game two, Powell — a senior from Flatwoods, Ky. and the reigning RSC Pitcher of the Week — walked two and tossed a two-hit shutout for her eighth win in 11 decisions.

Both of the Celtics’ hits were infield singles — a bunt single by Kelsey Geyer in the third and a pinch-hit single to second by Tristan Voss in the seventh inning.

Rio had just four hits of its own against Carlow starter Abby Stroud, two of which came when the RedStorm scored its run in fourth inning.

Powell reached on a two-out single to right and scored all the way from first on a subsequent double to left-center by Pica.

The second game took just an hour and 11 minutes to complete.

Rio Grande’s Mary Pica greets her teammates at home plate after belting yet another home run. Grande’s Mary Pica greets her teammates at home plate after belting yet another home run. Submitted Photo

Staff Report