Softball team gets defeated in series against IU Southeast

Written By Michael Richter

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In a parking lot adjacent to Field 4 at Fairhaven Park, a woman emerged from a gray car to observe the right side of her vehicle. After walking around the back end of the car, she examined a dent over the right, rear tire. A softball struck the vehicle.

During the four-game series against Indiana University Southeast, Point Park Pioneers center fielder Alyssa McMurtrie walloped a three-run home run over the right-center section of the field’s fence and struck the car of a woman who was driving by the field.

“I didn’t realize I dented a car,” McMurtrie said a day after the game during a phone interview.

The Point Park softball team split a four-game series 2-2 with the IU Southeast Grenadiers at home on April 9-10, which brought the Pioneers’ overall record to 22-14. They currently rank 3rd in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC) with a 17-7 record.

Although Point Park dropped the first game of the series 5-2 to KIAC foe IU Southeast, it was a closer game than the scoreboard indicated.

In the first inning, Grenadiers left fielder Montanah Rogers scored the game’s first run on an error from Pioneers shortstop Becca Babincak. In the top of the second inning, the Grenadiers added to their lead. With the bases loaded, IU Southeast lead-off hitter Rogers singled to right field to bring in two runs, increasing the lead 3-0.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Point Park’s offense came alive. As third basewoman Gabi Vogt singled to start the second half of the inning, several of her teammates rattled the cage in the home team dugout. After that, first basewoman Karen Mao stepped up to home plate for an at-bat while her teammates in the dugout were chanting in unison, “It’s Karen Mao time! Karen Mao time! Karen Mao time!”

Mao clobbered a two-run homer – the first of five home runs by Pioneers in the IU Southeast series — over the right-center fence, cutting Point Park’s deficit 3-2.

“It’s nice to know we have so many in the lineup who can hit the long ball,” said Pioneers head coach Michelle Coultas.

IU Southeast thwarted the Pioneers’ comeback attempt in the seventh. With two outs, the Grenadiers scored three runs to secure the win.

The Pioneers beat the Grenadiers in game two by a score of 8-0; it marked the first time IU Southeast had been shutout in a game. Starting pitcher Hannah Harley allowed IU Southeast only one hit in the five-inning game — the visiting team was rendered hitless throughout the last four innings after recording one hit in the opening inning.

IU Southeast prevailed with a final score of 6-5 in game three of the series.

In the first inning, Mao scored the game’s first runs with her second two-run homer of the series. Pioneers second basewoman Natalie Zivic crushed a ball over the center field fence to put Point Park up 3-0 in the bottom of the second.

However, IU Southeast then three runs in the fourth and another three runs in the sixth to pull ahead 6-3. The Pioneers scored only two runs in the bottom of the sixth, falling short of a victory.

Point Park was up 5-1 going into the sixth inning of the series’ final game. The Grenadiers refused to go down easy; they scored four runs in the top of the sixth to tie the game.

 

With the score tied 5-5 in the bottom of the seventh inning and two runners on base, McMurtrie was at the plate.

“I knew I had to be calm,” McMurtrie said. “I remember looking at Karen [Mao] who was on second and her saying, ‘trust yourself,’ and that’s exactly what I did.”

Down in the count 1-2, McMurtrie hit a walk-off, three-run home run – scoring Mao and designated hitter Jessica Beitler – to win the game 8-5.

Consequently, several Point Park players rattled the dugout cage in jubilation, and junior Haley Wisniewski pounded on her bongo drum – a new staple at Pioneers home games.

“They’re a big hit in the dugout,” McMurtrie said of Wisniewski’s drum.

Going into the series with Point Park, IU Southeast was atop the KIAC standings. Now, they rank second in the conference.

“I am happy with the wins considering our history with IU Southeast,” Coultas said.

Prior to the series, Point Park possessed a 1-7 all-time record versus the Grenadiers.

On tap for the Pioneers is a four-game home series against conference opponent Midway on April 17-18.

“I definitely disagree with our current standing [in the KIAC].” Beitler said. “But I know we’re a good team, and in our next few games, I believe we will move up in the ranks.”

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