N. MANCHESTER, Ind. – Defiance used a late rally to defeat Manchester College, 6-3, in the opening game of the HCAC doubleheader, before exploding for 12 runs to blowout the Spartans, 12-4, in the finale. The Jackets, who have now won three straight, improve to 6-2 in the conference with the sweep.
Trailing 1-0 after five innings in the opener, DC would score a run in the top of the sixth to draw even with the host Spartans. Stephanie Lieto led off the inning with a single, before scoring on Amanda Auzin's one-out double.
Defiance blew open the contest in the seventh, as the Jackets plated five runs in the inning. Aarika Davis jumpstarted DC's incredible rally with a lead-off double. After a sacrifice bunt by Tasha Stucke moved pinch runner Julie Miller 60 feet away, the Jackets would put four consecutive runners aboard to keep the rally alive.
Kayla Crager reached on an error to score Miller, while touching the plate herself on Melanie Bushman's single. Lieto and Allison Ramsay hit back-to-back RBI doubles, before Marah Robinson rounded out the scoring for Defiance with a run-scoring single that put DC up 6-1 heading into the home half of the inning.
Manchester tacked on two runs in the bottom of the seventh, but Justine Johnston closed the door to record the victory. Johnston improved to 8-6 on the year, giving up three runs on eight hits in a complete-game effort.
The Jacket offense heated up in the second game of the twinbill, pushing 12 runs across in the game to win for the sixth time in their last eight contests.
Davis once again got things going for DC, leading off the second with one of her three doubles on the day. Stucke laid down another sacrifice bunt to advance Davis, who would go on to score on a passed ball to give Defiance a 1-0 advantage.
The Spartans scored a trio of runs over the next two innings to grab a 3-1 lead, but the Jackets would score 11 runs over the last three innings to cruise to the victory.
Auzins and Robinson each hit one-out singles in the fifth to set that table for consecutive triples by Mallory Faling and Davis, which helped DC retake the lead, 4-3. Kayla Crager closed out the inning with a run-scoring single to push Defiance's advantage to two, 5-3.
The Jackets scored seven times in the final inning to put any thoughts of a comeback to rest, as Auzins, Crager, Ramsay and Robinson each drove in runs.
Kelly Schnipke recorded the victory to win her third consecutive start, improving to 7-3 on the season. The sophomore hurler went 4 2/3 innings, giving up four runs, three earned, on six hits. Brittany Gow closed out the game with a scoreless 2 1/3 innings, surrendering just two hits.
Davis led Defiance with six hits on the afternoon, scoring three times and driving in a run. Auzins and Robinson both finished the day with four hits and two RBI, while Crager, Faling and Ramsay each drove in three runs to lead the Jackets.
Defiance (16-9) returns to action this Friday, April 10, as the Jackets will be looking to push their winning streak to five games with a sweep of Albion College. The first pitch is slated for 2:00 p.m.