DEFIANCE, Ohio – Transylvania swept Defiance in a pair of one-run games, ending the Jackets' bid for their second HCAC regular season title in the last three years. DC saw its eight-game conference winning streak come to an end, dropping the opener, 2-1, before losing a heartbreaker, 3-2, in extra innings.
The Jackets' lack of offensive production proved costly in the twinbill, as Defiance's woes at the plate erased a pair of solid pitching performances from DC starters Justine Johnston and Kelly Schnipke.
In the opener, the Pioneers broke up a scoreless ballgame in the top of the second, as Kaitlyn Kallenborn's two-run shot would give Transy the only runs it would need. Johnston settled in after the home run, but it would not be enough as Pioneer pitcher, Kendra DeArk, held the Jackets in check.
Defiance score its only run of the game in the bottom of the fifth, as pinch runner Julie Miller was able to score from first base on a Transylvania error to cut the deficit in half, 2-1. However, the Jackets were unable to get anything going in the final two innings of play, allowing Transylvania to take the opener.
Johnston (12-9) took the loss, despite throwing a solid seven innings. The senior pitcher surrendered two runs on just four hits, only allowing a runner pass second base three times in the contest.
After the second game of the doubleheader started with four scoreless innings, the Jackets finally broke through with a run in the fifth frame. Amanda Auzins, who had her 11-game hitting streak snapped in the opener, drove in Stephanie Lieto with double off the left field wall to give DC a 1-0 advantage.
Transy's Jessica Broadhead put the tying run in scoring position in the sixth with a one-out double off starter Kelly Schnipke, but Justine Johnston, pitching in relief, recorded the final two outs of the inning to escape trouble with Defiance's lead intact.
However, the Pioneers were not ready to concede the game, as Kallenborn's second big-hit of the afternoon plated Ashley Pait to send the contest into extra innings.
After a scoreless eighth, Transylvania took advantage of a couple fielding mishaps in the ninth to grab a two-run advantage, 3-1, heading into the home half of the inning. DC rallied in the bottom of the ninth, as Melanie Bushman drove in Miller to pull the Jackets within one, 3-2, but it would not be enough as the Pioneers came away with the win.
Schnipke threw 5.1 innings of shutout ball in the nightcap, holding Transylvania to just three hits in that time. Johnston was charged with the loss, giving up three runs, one earned, in the final 3.2 innings. The Wauseon, Ohio native was able to reach a milestone in the second contest, becoming the first pitcher in DC history to reach 400-strikeout plateau.
Defiance returns to action tomorrow, April 25, when it plays host to the College of Mount St. Joseph for a HCAC doubleheader at Sal Hench Field. The Jackets will be recognizing its six seniors prior to the first pitch, which is scheduled for 12:00 p.m.