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Johnston Sets Career Mark in DC’s Sweep of Heidelberg

Johnston Sets Career Mark in DC’s Sweep of Heidelberg

DEFIANCE, Ohio – Defiance used a pair of three-run innings and a solid pitching performance from Justine Johnston to cruise to a 6-2 victory over Heidelberg University in the opener, before outlasting the Berg, 4-1, in the second game of the doubleheader. DC, who has now won three straight, improves to 9-4 on the season.

The Jackets got things going right away, scoring three runs in the opening inning of the game. Marah Robinson and Mallory Faling each reached on one-out singles, before Melanie Bushman cleared the bases with a double to right center. Aarika Davis followed up Bushman's hit with a RBI-single to give DC an early 3-0 advantage.

Heidelberg drew within two, 3-1, with a score in the top of the fourth, but Defiance exploded for three runs in the bottom half of the inning. Kayla Crager set the table for the Jackets in the fourth, leading off with a single up the middle. Allison Ramsay started a string of three-straight hits by Defiance, slapping a shot through the infield to score pinch runner Katelyn Samples. Tasha Stucke drove in Ramsay with a frozen rope in the gap to record her first triple of the season, before crossing the plate on Robinson's shot off the left field fence.

The Berg pushed across another run in the fifth, but Johnston and the DC defense would clamp down over the final two innings to record the victory.

Johnston, who improves to 5-3 on the season, moved past Cheryl Billow on DC's career win list with the  52nd victory of her career. The Wauseon, Ohio native surrendered just two runs, one earned, on five hits while fanning five. Johnston has compiled a 52-27 record with a 2.63 ERA in her time with the Jackets.

Defiance came through in clutch situations in the final game of the doubleheader, squeezing out the victory. The Jackets jumped on the board first, as Bushman's two-out single drove in Robinson to give DC an 1-0 advantage.

Heidelberg knotted the game with a run in the top of the second, but DC would take advantage of an error in the bottom half of the inning to regain the lead, 2-1. Starter Kelly Schnipke settled in over the next four innings, holding the Student Princes scoreless the rest of the way.

The Jackets took advantage of Schnipke's efforts, adding a pair of insurance runs in the fifth to grab some breathing room. Ramsay led off the inning for DC with a triple to deep center, before scoring on Marah Robinson's sacrifice fly to help Defiance grab a 3-1 advantage. The Jackets would add another run two batters later, as Bushman drove in pinch runner Katie Bowman with her third double of the afternoon.

Kelly Schnipke moves to 4-1 on the year with the victory, after holding the Berg to just one run on four hits in her six innings of work. Brittany Gow pitched a perfect seventh to record the save in her first appearance of the season.

Defiance tallied 20 hits in the two games, hitting .400 as a team in the doubleheader. Bushman led Defiance with five hits and four runs batted in, going five-for-six from the plate on the day. Robinson finished with three hits and two RBI, while Faling was 3-for-6 on the afternoon.

Defiance will be back in action on Monday, March 23, when it hosts Trine University at Sal Hench Field. The opening game of the doubleheader is scheduled to begin at 3:00 p.m.