Croup’s Corner – Working out the kinks


Photo by Robert Berger | Point Park Athletics

Sophomore Ashley Iagnemma struck out 11 in a 5-0 win against Carlow Saturday.

Written By Josh Croup, Sports Columnist

Alyssa McMurtrie led the softball team with nine home runs in 2015, but didn’t get a chance to homer in 2016.

She tore her ACL and meniscus during preseason last year and missed the entire 2016 season. McMurtrie returned to the diamond in 2017 looking to pick up where she left off, but one thing has been missing so far: the power.

McMurtrie was hitting .282 through her first 15 games back with the team with no home runs and four RBIs. I asked her about the power the day before Point Park opened conference play Saturday at Carlow.

“I’ve been making solid contact,” McMurtrie said. “It’s a matter of the process…Hopefully, I can come back and help the team with some home runs this year.”

Ask and you shall receive.

McMurtrie homered in game two of Saturday’s doubleheader against Carlow to help Point Park to a sweep in its first River States Conference (RSC) game of the season. She finished game two  3-5 with five RBIs, the most in one game by a Pioneer this season.

It was only the second homer of the season for the Pioneers, who took 20 days off between games after their spring break trip to Florida. Point Park worked out its kinks Thursday against Gannon, which swept the Pioneers in the non-conference doubleheader.

But, as the team will tell you, they would much rather work out those kinks in a meaningless game against Gannon than in a game against a conference rival that could have postseason implications.

Point Park split its regular season doubleheader with Carlow last year and came up one game short of second place in the final RSC regular season standings.

The Pioneers were the No. 3 seed and were eventually eliminated by Carlow on day two of the conference tournament. This is a team that Point Park wanted to and needed to take care of to ensure a loss didn’t come back to haunt them later in the season.

McMurtrie sure did help take care of business, but she wasn’t the only one.

Ashley Iagnemma, the reigning conference newcomer of the year, dealt 11 strikeouts in a four-hit shutout. She leads the RSC with 62 strikeouts through her first eight starts, and is already making a strong case for RSC Pitcher of the Year.

Tiffany Edwards is making her case to follow Iagnemma as the RSC Newcomer of the Year on the mound.

She transferred to Point Park from Seton Hill University and has settled in nicely during her first year. Her one-hit shutout of Carlow in game two Saturday helped give the Pioneers a 2-0 start to their RSC schedule. Despite giving up six runs in four innings Thursday against Gannon, she still has a 2.79 ERA.

Edwards doesn’t have the strikeout numbers that
Iagnemma does, but the sophomore duo make things easy for opposing batters in the RSC this year.

The Pioneers took care of business Saturday when it counted and gave us a glimpse of their true potential.