DEFIANCE, Ohio – Brittany Gow's pinch-hit single in the bottom of the seventh scored Tasha Stucke to give Defiance a 4-3 victory over Trine University in the opening game of the doubleheader. However, DC would see its four-game winning streak end in the nightcap, as its late-inning rally fell short.
The Jackets got their offense going in the second, as Amanda Auzins' double to deep center put two runners in scoring position with only one out. Stephanie Lieto capitalized on the opportunity, driving in both runs with a single through the right side to give Defiance a 2-0 advantage. After Lieto moved to second on Allison Ramsay's single, the senior second baseman would score on Tasha Stucke's double to left center to push DC's lead to three.
The Thunder knotted the contest two innings later, scoring three runs in the top the fourth. Pitcher Justine Johnston settled in after Trine's outburst, holding the Thunder to one hit in the final three innings to leave the game tied heading into the bottom of the seventh.
Stucke started DC's rally with a single down the left field line and advanced to second after Marah Robinson was hit by a pitch. Both runners advanced a base on a throwing error by the catcher, putting a pair of Jackets in scoring position with one out. Gow put Trine's hope for extra innings to rest with a shot up the middle, plating Stucke to seal the victory for Defiance.
Justine Johnston earned the win to improve to 6-3 on the year, giving up three runs, two earned, on nine hits in her seven innings in the circle. The senior pitcher's ability to get out of trouble proved to be crucial, as the Wauseon, Ohio native escaped bases-loaded jams in the second and third innings to win her third consecutive start.
Lieto and Stucke each had two hits for DC, who finished with seven hits in the contest. Auzins, Gow and Ramsay also collected hits for Defiance.
Stucke led off the second game with rope to right field, using a favorable bounce in the outfield to leg out a triple. Faling took advantage of the runner in scoring position, hitting a single up the middle to score Stuck and give DC a 1-0 lead.
Defiance added another run in the second, as Ramsay, who got on base with a two-out double, scored on Stucke's single to right field.
The Thunder tied the game in the top of the third on a two-run blast by Graham, before chasing DC starter Kelly Schnipke with a four-run fourth to open up a 6-2 lead.
The Jackets closed the gap with a run in the fourth, as Faling drove in her second run of the contest with a double to right to score Ramsay. However, Trine would return the lead to four, 7-3, in the fifth with a valuable insurance run.
After a scoreless fifth, Defiance drew within two, 7-5, on a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth. Stucke hit a one-out single to start the rally and moved to second, when Marah Robinson advanced on an error. Faling put both runners in scoring position with a single to center, leaving the bases juiced. Stucke would score one batter later on Aarika Davis' bases-loaded walk, before Robinson scored on a wild pitch. Gow nearly pulled off some late-inning magic for the second-straight game, but her shot to third base was fielded cleanly for the final out of the inning.
Still trailing by two runs, Amanda Auzins led off the seventh with a sharp single to left field. However, DC was unable to capitalize, as Trine was able to close out the win.
The Jackets' offense racked up ten hits in the nightcap, but in the end, it was the ten runners stranded that proved to their downfall. Faling and Stucke each collected three hits in the contest, while Auzins finished with a pair.
Schnipke(4-2) took the loss for the Jackets, after being charged with six runs in 3 2/3 innings of work. Gow pitched the final three-plus innings for DC, giving up an unearned run on one hit with three strikeouts.
Defiance returns to action on Wednesday, March 25, when it travels to Adrian, Mich. to face the Bulldogs of Adrian College. The doubleheader is slated to begin at 3:00 p.m.