Both diamond programs strive for .500

Sarah Francowic, Sports Editor

The Mountain Cat baseball team slipped to 7-10 after traveling to Shepherdstown, West Virginia, March 15 to play a doubleheader against Shepherd (W.Va.) University, losing 11-4 and 8-7.

The baseball team was on a five-game winnning streak before getting swept defeating East Stroudsburg University in a doubleheader on March 7, a 12-5 victory over Fairmont State (W.Va.) University March 9 and a doubleheader sweep over Shippensburg University March 11.

Senior outfielder Ernesto Rizzitano is leading the team with 27 hits, along with 76 at bats, as of March 20, according to the Pitt-Johnstown athletics website.

“I want to enjoy my last season here and hopefully make the conference tournament because once you get in, anything can happen,” Rizzitano said.

Rizzitano said the baseball team has a positive attitude and is one of the closest teams he has ever been on, which will help produce wins throughout the season. 

“We all have each others’ backs, which is very important,” he said.

“Once we put all the pieces together and get on a steady track, we will be a very tough team to beat this year.”

Junior pitcher Kenny Gault said he’s been really impressed with the new members of the team this year. 

“They bring a lot of talent that has been helping the team in areas we’ve lacked the past few years,” Gault said.

“Their work ethic brings out the best in all of us.”

The Mountain Cats swept Slippery Rock to open conference play on March 19.

The teams improved to 8-10 overall and 2-0 in conference play.

The Lady Cat softball team went 1-7 on their spring break trip to Clermont, Florida.

First year head coach Niki Cognigni earned her first career victory with the team over Edinboro University March 6, defeating them, 7-6.

Pitt-Johnstown trailed 6-2 before an offensive explosion of five runs in the top of the sixth inning.

The softball team faced close losses against Upper Iowa University (Fayette, Iowa), Cedarville (Ohio) University and University of Mount Olive (N.C.).

The spring trip ended March 12 with a 4-1 loss against Mercy College (Dobbs, N.Y.).

Freshman outfielders Morgan Cannin and Ashley Shor both singled to lead off the sixth inning.

Cannin eventually scored on sophomore third basemen Montana Mang’s sacrifice fly.

Cognigni said the team is extremely focused and has been very productive at practices. 

“I think our doubleheader against Seton Hill is a good way to prepare us for our upcoming conference games,” Cognigni said.

The team is only in their second year, but Cognigni said it doesn’t hold them back.

“Having a young team is exciting; we will be able to learn and grow together throughout the season,” Cognigni said.

“As long as we continue to improve from game to game both offensively and defensively and work to correct and minimize errors at practice, we will have a successful season.”

The Lady Cats swept two non-conference games from Seton Hill University March 19.

The team will open conference play with home doubleheaders against Mansfield University March 25 at 2:30 p.m. and Clarion University March 26 at 1 p.m.