The Penn State Behrend softball team finished runners up in the 2019 Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championships on Saturday afternoon. The No. 1 Lions defeated No. 4 Albright 2-0 in the semifinals before falling to reigning champions Pfeiffer, 9-1. The Franciscan University softball team ended its record-setting season as the Lady Barons dropped the ECAC Tournament first round game to Pfeiffer, 7-0, Wednesday afternoon. The Lady Barons wrap up their season with a 24-15 overall record after earning a bid to the ECAC Tournament for the first time in program history.
Behrend starter AJ Nichols pitched a two-hit shutout in the opener. She struck out six and only walked two, improving to 18-3 this season, while six different players tallied hits for the Lions. Carson Hauser led off with a hit up the middle and Alayna Derzak drove her in with a single to right center. After a three and out in the fifth, the Lions added another run in the bottom of the frame. Angela Dale singled to start the fifth and then scored on a Nichols single to right field for a 2-0 edge.
In the championship game against Pfeiffer, the Falcons broke up a scoreless game in the top of the fourth with eight runs on five hits. Mackenzie Pennell smacked a two run homer while Pfeiffer took advantage off three Behrend errors. The Lions showed signs of life with a run in the fourth when Nichols doubled to right center and came home on Kylee Bundy fielder's choice. Nichols started once again in the circle, throwing 3.1 innings and allowing three earned runs for the loss.
On Wednesday, in first round action, the Falcons got on the board first in the bottom of the first inning as Alexis Walter scored on a wild pitch after getting to third thanks to her double and a ground out from Mackenzie Pennell. Freshman Chloe Cross had the first hit of the day for the Lady Barons as she doubled to center with two outs in the second but was stranded out there.
Baron pitcher Sarah Keating held the Falcons scoreless through the next two-plus innings before Pfeiffer tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs and the bases loaded, Walter singled to third and K Miller came home to score. Keating ended the inning as she nabbed a rocket that came right back to her to limit the damage.
Pfeiffer added a pair of runs in the fifth to take a 4-0 lead and a two-run home run in the sixth pushed the Falcon lead to 6-0. After another run came home on a ground out back to the pitched, sophomore Allyson Weiss had a head's up play at second to keep the score 7-0. With a runner at third and one out, a ground ball came back to Weiss and instead of going to first, Weiss fired a strike to Cross behind the plate to nab the runner coming home for the second out.
The Lady Barons went down in order in the top of the seventh as the Falcons earned an ECAC Tournament win.