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A-K Valley campus clippings: Highlands grad Haidze excelling for IUP softball team

Highlands graduate Jaycee Haidze is performing well in the early season for the IUP softball team.

Highlands graduate Jaycee Haidze is performing well in the early part of the season for the IUP softball team.

The second-year right-handed pitcher and infielder received the PSAC Western Division Athlete of the Week for softball after hitting .524 (11 of 21) in IUP’s seven games last week.

She achieved four doubles, two home runs and 10 RBIs.

Haidze finished the week strongly with a 9-for-13 performance over the final two doubleheaders: a sweep of Mercyhurst, 12-4 and 9-1, and a split with Edinboro, an 11-10 win and an 8-4 loss.

She scored five runs for the week and also started two games as a pitcher. This included a five-inning complete-game win against Mercyhurst in which she allowed only two hits and one earned run.

As of Friday’s doubleheader with Edinboro, Haidze batted .333 (23 of 69) with nine doubles, two home runs and a team-best 23 RBIs for a Crimson Hawks team that is 18-9 overall and 4-3 in PSAC play.

She also has a 2-0 record in the circle with a 3.57 ERA in 17 2/3 innings pitched, obtaining 14 strikeouts against 12 walks.

If the weather permits, IUP will visit Pitt-Johnstown on Friday for a PSAC doubleheader.


WVU: Abbie Piersen (St. Joseph), a fifth-year senior, achieved a season-high matching 9.9 on her floor routine to lead WVU in that event at the Big 12 championships March 24 at Oklahoma. She added a strong 9.825 on vault and a 9.725 on beam. Piersen celebrated a decorated collegiate career with career-bests of 9.950 on vault, 9.8 on uneven bars, 9.925 on beam, 9.925 on floor, and 39.2 in the all-around. She finished her five seasons with 1,880.8 points over 60 meets that included 17 all-around performances.


Duquesne: Shannon Small (Plum) and the Dukes earned an at-large bid to the NCAA championships and will face Maryland Eastern Shore as part of the Pittsburgh Regional on Friday at AMF Mt. Lebanon Lanes. Overall No. 1 seed Jacksonville State will also be at Mt. Lebanon Lanes and face Mercyhurst. Small, a senior, helped Duquesne take fourth at the Northeast Conference championships March 24 after winning the outright regular-season title. She also earned All-NEC first-team honors for the season. It is her fourth straight All-NEC laurel.


Slippery Rock: Brandon Butler (Apollo-Ridge) has been sharing starting duties at third base in his first year. He received two walks and scored a run in a win over Mercyhust on March 30. His most successful hitting performance occurred on March 3 in a loss to St. Thomas Aquinas in Cary, N.C., where he collected three singles in four at-bats.

Washington & Jefferson: Justin Giarrusso (Plum) obtained the pitching victory in the second game of a doubleheader sweep of Geneva on March 28. The second-year right-hander threw two scoreless innings of relief with five strikeouts, no walks and one hit allowed. Giarrusso also worked two innings in relief on March 18 and struck out two while allowing two hits and no runs in a win over Framington State in Florida.

Track and field

Saint Vincent: PJ McNeal (Plum) was named Presidents’ Athletic Conference Newcomer of the Week on March 19 after placing second out of 31 in the 400-meter dash at the Washington & Lee Track Carnival on March 16. The time of 50.31 seconds was the second-fastest performance in program history and, at the time, the top time in the PAC for the spring outdoor season. He added an eighth-place finish out of 61 in the 200 dash (22.91), also the second-best mark in team history.

Westminster: Jack Crider (Kiski Area) came in third out of 29 in the discus with a personal-best throw of 40.61 meters (133 feet, 3 inches) on March 30 at the Carnegie Mellon Invitational. He finished one spot ahead of Duquesne freshman Nick Curci, who threw the discus 39.76 meters (130 feet, 5 inches) and is a graduate of Apollo-Ridge.

Chatham: Connor Domke (Plum) was recognized on the PAC Newcomer Honor Roll for March 26 after breaking the Chatham men’s school record in the 110 hurdles with a time of 16.04 seconds to place 10th at the season-opening Stan Romanoski Open on March 23 in Morgantown, W.Va. This event was hosted by the WVU track and field club.

Women’s tennis

Pitt-Greensburg: Eden Richey (Valley) has a record of 11-3 overall at No. 2 singles and 10-4 at No. 1 doubles with Bedford grad Emily Ruhlman this season. The 2022-23 Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Newcomer of the Year won a three-set singles match against Westminster in the Bobcats’ spring opener on March 27.

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