WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – The Clarion softball team opened their 2020 season on Sunday with a pair of hard-fought losses, dropping a 9-7 decision to USciences and a 5-4 matchup with Saint Rose on the first day of the PFX Spring Games.
The Golden Eagles had late opportunities in each game but came up just short, with the potential go-ahead runs on base in both contests. The game against USciences saw Clarion put on a major rally, scoring five runs in the fifth and sixth innings and putting runners on second and third in the seventh. Clarion had runners on first and second in the seventh inning against Saint Rose, but the Golden Knights were able to escape the inning before the tying run could come across.
Makenzie Wolfe went 3-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs in the first game, while freshman Carissa Giordano added a 2-for-3 performance with two RBIs against the Devils. Giordano drove in the first runs of the season to give Clarion a 2-0 lead over USciences, lining a single to plate Hannah Norton and Chelsea Liroff in the top of the second inning. The Devils responded with a big inning in the bottom of the second, scoring eight and adding another in the third to make it a 9-2 lead. Wolfe started the process of erasing that lead with a three-run double into the right-center gap, cutting the lead to 9-5. Liroff brought her around with a line drive single into left field, and Natalie Else rapped an RBI single in the top of the sixth to cut the lead to two runs. The Golden Eagles loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the seventh inning, but Wolfe was thrown out at home on Aryn Boyer’s fielder’s choice, and Giordano hit into an inning-ending double play to end the game.
Megan Peterson entered in relief of Macy Rubin (0-1) and had an excellent outing, allowing five hits and one run in 4.1 innings pitched. She struck out three and walked none, keeping the Golden Eagles close.
Clarion rallied from a 4-1 deficit in the game against the Golden Knights as well, with Allison Gilliam and Alexis Boie sparking the first part of the rally. Gilliam drew a walk to lead off the inning and Boie smacked a double to put runners in scoring position. Katie Zameroski followed that up with a productive groundout, pushing the ball to the right side of the infield to score Gilliam and make it 4-2. Boie crossed the plate on a wild pitch to make it 4-3 before the end of the fifth. Jessica Cartia delivered the equalizer to lead off the sixth inning, driving a pitch over the center field fence for her first home run of the season to make it 4-4. Saint Rose countered with a leadoff homer of their own in the seventh, and the Golden Knights escaped a jam in the seventh for the win.