Pitching Gems, Timely Hits Leads Softball to Sweep of Valpo

Caitlyn Minney
Caitlyn Minney

Youngstown, Ohio -- Junior Caitlyn Minney pitched a four-hit, complete-game shutout with nine strikeouts and freshman Paige Geanangel also tossed a four-hitter to lead the Youngstown State softball team to a doubleheader sweep of Valparaiso on Saturday afternoon at the YSU Softball Field.

The Penguins defeated the Crusaders, 4-1, in the opener and, 3-0, in the second game.

With the sweep, the Penguins improve to 12-11 overall and 2-0 in the Horizon League while the Crusaders fall to 3-19 overall and 0-2 in the league.

In game one, Geanangel allowed a run the top of the first after a run-scoring double by Valpo's Taylor Nadler.

Senior Miranda Castiglione answered with a two-run home run to right-center field in the bottom half of the first to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead.

Geanangel allowed just two more hits in the third inning and did not allow a hit in the final four frames.

In the bottom of the fifth, sophomore Hannah Lucas reach on an infield single and sophomore Cali Mikovich belted a two-out, two-strike pitch over the right-field wall for her sixth home run of the year and extended the Penguins lead to 4-1.

In the nightcap, Minney pitched out of three bases-loaded jams in the top of the first, third and fourth innings and stranded two runners in the top of the second inning. However, over the final three innings, Minney allowed just one hit and retired nine of the final 10 batters she faced.

The Penguins scored a run in the bottom of the first inning but missed out on a big scoring opportunity. With runners on second and third and no outs, Castligione's sinking line drive to left field was caught by Nadler. Dowd, who was on third and tagged up, was called out of the play for leaving early.

Alex Gibson followed with a two-out single up the middle to score Mikovich, who walked and stole second, from second.

On the first pitch of the bottom of the third inning, Mikovich hit a towering drive over the right-center field fence to give the Penguins a 2-0 cushion. Gibson reached on an error, moved to second on Stevie Taylor's single and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Katie Smallcomb's sacrifice fly to center field plated Gibson with the Penguins third run of the game.

The Penguins and Crusaders conclude the series with a single-game, Sunday, March 27, at the YSU Softball Field. First pitch is at 1:30 p.m.