BRADFORD, Pa. – The Franciscan softball team suffered its first Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference doubleheader sweep of the season to Pitt.-Bradford, Monday. The Lady Barons fell 2-0 in the first game before dropping the second game, 11-3.
Hits were hard to come by for the Lady Barons as they combined for seven hits between the two games, including being held hitless in the first.
Senior Jordan Cunningham was as effective in the circle as she could ask to be in the first game, allowing just five hits, while pitching herself out of jams. The Panthers got their first base runners in the bottom of the second on back-to-back two-out singles, but Cunningham induced a ball right back to her to get the final out. UPB got another runner on in the bottom of the third but freshman catcher Kayla Anderson fired a strike to classmate Dennise Carrazco at shortstop to catch the runner trying to steal for the second out of the inning. Cunningham closed out the frame with a pop up to second to keep the game scoreless.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Panthers scored the game's only two runs in the pitchers' duel behind two hits and two costly Lady Baron errors. With runners on second and third thanks to a single, error, and a stolen base, the Panthers brought the first run home with a sacrifice bunt before scoring the final run of the inning on a fielding error. Cunningham got the final batter to fly out to center to end the inning.
Franciscan looked to be mounting its comeback as Carrazco drew her second walk of the game and promptly stole second with two outs. Morgan Bellush was locked in for the Panthers, however, and got Kathleen Thompson lined out to short to end the scoring threat.
Cunningham pitched a perfect bottom half of the sixth to keep the score close, but Franciscan was unable to get a seventh-inning rally going and the game ended 2-0 in favor of Pitt.-Bradford.
As its been characteristic of the Lady Barons this season, the bats came alive in the second game. Franciscan struck first in the top of the first inning with a pair of runs thanks to head's up base running. Carrazco led off the game with a single to center and stole second to get in scoring position. With one out, Anderson singled through the left side to put runners on the corners. With Ashley Kondracki up to bat, Carrazco and Anderson pulled off the perfect double steal, Carrazco coming home and Anderson going to second, for the first run of the game. After Kondracki singled to right, the Lady Barons attempted another double steal but Anderson was out at home, but Kondracki was now in scoring position. Cunningham then reached on a fielding error by the second baseman that allowed Kondracki to come home to give FUS a 2-0 lead.
The Panthers tied the game in the bottom of the first with two runs on three hits but freshman pitcher Jayln Effertz was able to get the last batter to strike out to end the inning, leaving two runners stranded.
Franciscan was unable to get junior Lindsey Finch home from third in the second inning before Bradford plated a pair of runs on three hits and one Lady Baron error in the home-half of the second to take a 4-2 lead.
After a scoreless third and fourth for both teams, Franciscan pulled within one run in the top of the fifth. Freshman Kathleen Thompson reached on a fielding error before Anderson singled through the left side to put two on. Kondracki collected her third hit of the game as she singled to right to bring home Thompson. Bradford got the final two Lady Barons out to strand a pair of runners and keep the lead.
After a scoreless home half of the fifth and top of the sixth, the Panthers put the game away with seven runs on five hits and two errors in the sixth to end the game, 11-3, in favor of the hosts.
Effertz suffered her first loss of the season in the second game as she gave up 11 runs, only five earned, on 15 hits and four walks. Effertz struck out one.
Kondracki finished the day 3-for-3 with a RBI and a run scored while Carrazco and Thompson scored the Lady Barons' other two runs.
Franciscan returns home tomorrow as the Lady Barons host Mt. Aloysius in an AMCC doubleheader at 3:00 pm.