ERIE, Pa. -- The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford softball team split its first two Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference contests of the season at Penn State-Behrend Thursday, dropping game one before earning a thrilling victory in a tight second game.
"Very pleased to get a split today," Head Coach Tina Phillips said. "I think we just had to get the rust off in the first game. We have played once in 24 days and they were playing for the third-straight day. Kerrigan settled down after a tough start. We made some nice defensive plays. Lindsey and Maddy both got us some key double plays to work out of trouble.
"Then, we responded like a team with 16 returners," Phillips continued. "Great to see. We got that one key hit with runners on with Madison's two-run triple. I told them yesterday at practice that was what it would come down to. Jordan pitched a great game. She and Emily were in sync. Great way to start conference play. We will enjoy this one tonight and we will be back at it tomorrow."
Madison East delivered the big hit in game two, a two-run triple to centerfield.
That would be all the Panthers would need, as Jordan Uhing threw all seven innings in the circle to earn the victory.
Pitt-Bradford is now an even 9-9 overall and 1-1 in AMCC play.
Heading into the day, Penn State-Behrend owned the top record in the conference at 6-2 and had won six-straight games.
Game One: Penn State-Behrend 6, Pitt-Bradford 2
The Penn State-Behrend offense got off to a fast start, using four hits to score four runs in the top of the first.
Madison East worked the first Panther hit of the day leading off the top of the fourth. She lined a ground ball down the third-base line for a double, advancing to third on an error by the Behrend left fielder.
East then came home for the Panthers' first run on a groundball from Lindsey Hull.
Penn State-Behrend answered, scoring two more in the fifth to go up 6-1. The big hit came on a two-run double.
Pitt-Bradford got one back in the top of the sixth.
She then scored on a Behrend fielding error off the bat of Samantha Hribal.
Chandler White later reached base, putting two runners on with one out.
But a lineout double play off the bat of Liz Dzurisin ended the contest.
Pitt-Bradford worked three total hits, one apiece from East, Nye and Hillery.
The Panther defense was charged with one error while the Behrend defense made five defensive blunders.
Pitt-Bradford made three double plays throughout the contest.
In the circle, Kerrigan Hoffmann tossed five innings, allowing 11 hits and six earned runs while walking none.
Liz Dzurisin threw the final inning, walking two but coming out blemish-free.
Game Two: Pitt-Bradford 2, Penn State-Behrend 1
Both pitchers held strong and took a scoreless contest into the fifth inning.
Driving the ball to deep centerfield, Harding and Fellows came home on the triple, giving the Panthers a 2-0 advantage.
In the bottom of the frame, Behrend got on the board with an RBI double, cutting the Panther lead in half.
Penn State-Behrend sent the Panthers down in order in the top of the sixth.
In the bottom of the sixth, Behrend reached base on an error with two down. The next batter ripped a line drive up the middle that Uhing snagged out of the air, ending the threat to head into the final inning.
The Panthers were unable to build on their lead in the seventh, and Behrend came up in the bottom looking to tie.
But Uhing induced three quick outs using the strong defense behind her and the Panthers picked up their first AMCC victory of the season -- snapping a seven-game Behrend winning streak in the process.
Uhing walked three and struck out two in the circled. Penn State-Behrend left 10 runners on base.
Like game one, the Panthers managed three hits. East, Fellows and Dzurisin had one apiece.
Up next, the Panthers will host a busy weekend at the Kessel Athletics Complex as three conference opponents come to town Friday (Hilbert), Saturday (Mount Aloysius) and Sunday (Pitt-Greensburg).