On an evening that was more conducive to skiing than softball, The University of Scranton braved the elements to sweep visiting Keystone in a non-conference doubleheader on Tuesday at Magis Field. The Royals battled through snow squalls and cold temperatures to outscore the Giants 18-3 in a pair of six-inning games to improve to 21-5 on the season.
Morgan Rentzheimer (Allentown, Pa./Parkland) became Scranton's all-time leader in strikeouts by a pitcher with her 335th career strikeout, which ended the top of the first inning of Tuesday's opener. The senior, who now has 340 career strikeouts, broke the record previously established by Sarah Rhodes from 2001-2005.
In Tuesday's opener, Scranton belted out 12 hits and scored in five of six innings played to pull away with an 11-3, six-inning victory.
Keystone (7-21) took a 1-0 lead with an unearned run in the top of the first of Tuesday's opener, but Scranton answered with three runs on one hit, one walk, and two errors by the Giants to hold a 3-1 advantage at the end of the bottom half of the frame.
Mackenzie Duffy (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./Lackawanna Trail) scored the Royals' first run as Megan Zinn (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan) reached on an error before a fly ball from Jennifer Sweeney (Dumont, N.J./Dumont) was misplayed allowing Brianna Lehr (Byram Township, N.J./Pope John XXIII Regional) to come home.
Zinn scored Scranton's third run of the inning on an RBI groundout off the bat of Casey DeSarno (Wall Township, N.J./Wall).
Keystone got a run back in the visitor's second, but Scranton answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning as Duffy connected on an RBI triple before coming home on a groundout by Lehr to make it a 5-2 game.
DeSarno drove in Sweeney with a sacrifice fly in the home third before the Giants got the run back on an RBI double in the top of the fifth to cut their deficit to 6-3.
Scranton broke the game open in the home fifth with three runs on three hits. DeSarno brought home Allie Hotchkiss (Baldwinsville, N.Y./Charles W. Baker) with an RBI groundout before Rentzheimer and Duffy drove in runs with a single and a double, respectively.
The Royals walked off with a run-rule victory in the sixth inning as Caitlin Long (Ho Ho Kus, N.J./Northern Highlands Regional) connected on a two-run single.
Rentzheimer improved to 9-4 on the season after striking out six batters and allowing three runs – two of which were earned – on five hits in five innings. Long pitched a perfect sixth inning to close out the game in the circle for the Royals.
Duffy led Scranton at the plate by going 3-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored while Rentzheimer and Anna Price (Bordentown, N.J./Bordentown Regional) added two hits apiece. DeSarno added a game-high three RBI in the win.
In Tuesday's nightcap, the Royals scored three runs in both the first and third innings and added another run in the fifth inning to win 7-0 after the game was called at the end of six innings due to the weather conditions.
Scranton took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first as Zinn doubled to left field to bring home Duffy before Sweeney laced a two-run home run over the fence in left center. The freshman's long ball was her seventh of the season which is tied for the seventh most in a single season by a Royal and the most since Caitlin McHenry hit eight long balls in the 2013 season.
The hosts opened up a 6-0 advantage by plating three more runs in the third inning. Another sacrifice fly from DeSarno brought home Zinn before Sweeney came home as Meaghan Dowdell (Parlin, N.J./Old Bridge) reached on an error. Price came home with Scranton's sixth run when Dowdell was caught stealing second.
Zinn scored the Royals' final run of the evening by coming home on an RBI groundout from Sweeney in the home fifth.
Sweeney improved to 11-1 in the circle while lowering her ERA to 0.96 by firing four shutout innings, striking out six batters while scattering four hits. Dowdell, who toed the rubber just before a heavy snow squall arrived at Magis Field, closed out Scranton's seventh shutout of the year with two scoreless innings in which she fanned two batters and yielded one hit.
Zinn went 3-for-3 with three runs scored while Sweeney added two hits, three RBI, and two runs scored to power the Royals' offensive in the game two victory.
Scranton will take on Marywood on Wednesday in a non-conference doubleheader starting at 4:00 p.m. at Magis Field. The twinbill between the Royals and Pacers is a Strikeout Cancer game with proceeds benefiting the American Cancer Society.