ALTOONA, Pa. – The Penn State Behrend softball team split an Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) doubleheader with Penn State Altoona on Saturday afternoon. The Lions earned a 3-1 win in the nightcap but fell in the opener, 3-2 (9).
The AMCC Game of the Week, that featured the Co-Pitchers of the Year, proved to be a dual between the two. Altoona's (16-14, 11-3 AMCC) Kate Burge and AJ Nichols (Pittsburgh, PA/Shaler) each picked up a win on the day to help the teams split to keep Behrend (20-12, 12-2 AMCC) in the driver's seat in the conference.
Nichols went the distance in game two, striking out a pair of batters and allowing one earned run for her ninth victory in the circle. Similar to game one, Behrend struck first. Alexa Bupp (Warren, PA/Warren) and Shannon McDonnell (Fayston, VT/Harwood Union) each hit a double but only Bupp rounded the bases for a 1-0 edge.
Altoona's three hits in the second only resulted in one run to even it at 1-all.
Behrend grabbed a 2-1 lead in the fifth and added an insurance run in the sixth for the win. Kelsey Heinrich (Brookville, PA/Brookville) reached on a fielder's choice and then stole second. A single by Nichols got runners on first and third. Bupp then singled to left field to knock in Heinrich.
In game one, Burge not only pitched a complete game for the win but she also hit a walk-off single to score Haley Giedroc in the bottom of the ninth to help the Lions (16-14, 11-3 AMCC) snap Behrend's winning streak.
It was a quick start for the Behrend Lions in the opener, plating two runs in the top of the first thanks to an RBI and a pair of errors by Altoona. Allania Banta (Waterford, PA/Fort LeBoeuf) reached on an error to lead off and then stole second. Nichols drove her in with a single to center field. With bases loaded, Nichols scored on a wild pitch for a 2-0 lead.
Altoona came back in the fifth with two runs with Julia Helbling's RBI single and a wild pitch to knot the game at 2-all and eventually send it into extra innings.
In the eighth, Alexa Bupp (Warren, PA/Warren) kept brining the heat and struck out all three batters she faced. The Lions could not get a run in the eighth or ninth inning, before Altoona managed three hits and got the walk-off single by Burge with two outs showing.
Behrend returns to action on Tuesday against Fredonia for the non-conference doubleheader, beginning at 3:30 p.m.