DEFIANCE, OHIO -- The Defiance College softball team rallied in the bottom of the seventh inning of game two and won in extras to beat Heidelberg University and come away with a two-game split in non-conference action at Sal Hench Field in the home opener. The Yellow Jackets lost the first game, 13-5, in six innings, but won game two, 5-4, in eight innings.
In game one, Defiance (4-8) led 5-0 after three innings of play, scoring its first two runs in the bottom of the second inning on a RBI-single by junior Sandra Hubler (Berea) and a defensive error. The Jackets added three more runs in the third thanks to a two-RBI double by Hubler and RBI-single by senior Brittany Shough (DeGraff/Riverside). The Heidelberg (9-3) offense then came alive, wiping DC's five-run lead in the top of the fourth with five runs of its own. The runs were part of 13 unanswered runs by the Student Princes who took the lead with a two-run fifth and sealed the victory in sixth by plating six runs to lead, 13-5. Defiance would have a final chance to cut into the deficit in the bottom of the sixth, but recorded three straight outs, putting the eight-run mercy rule into effect giving the win to Heidelberg.
Defiance recorded eight hits in the game, but committed four errors defensively. Hubler and freshman Calli Bauer (Galion) led the way at the plate with a pair of two-of-three efforts. Hubler also added her three RBI, while Bauer also scored a run. Four other players each recorded a hit hightlighted by freshman Haley Patty who went one-of-one with two runs scored and Shough finishing one-of-two with a run scored and a RBI.
On the mound, Patty started the game and pitched three complete innings, but suffered the loss and is now 1-2 overall for the season. In three innings, she allowed five runs, two earned on four hits. Fellow freshman Sydni Smith (Jackson, Mich./Lumen Christi) pitched the final three innings and gave up eight runs, five earned, on eight hits and had one strikeout.
In the nightcap, Heidelberg took the early lead by scoring two runs in the top of the second inning thanks to a two-RBI double with runners on first and second. Defiance cut the lead in half in the bottom of the frame with back-to-back doubles to lead off the inning with the run scoring on a double by Hubler making the score 2-1. The two teams traded runs in the fifth with the Jackets' run coming off the bat of sophomore Megan Warren (Mason) on a sacrifice fly. DC threatened in the sixth with bases loaded, but with two outs. Before any runs scored that would have given the Yellow Jackets the lead, Heidelberg managed to get Defiance to hit into the inning-ended out to maintain a one-run lead, 3-2, heading into the seventh. The Student Princes recorded the go ahead run late in the top of the seventh on a single to extend the margin to 4-2.
Warren began the DC seventh with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Bauer then hit a double and Warren breaked for home plate, but a solid throw by the Heidelberg outfielder chased Warren back to third base. Two batters later, Shough delivered on a game-tying single that allowed both runners to score evening the game at 4-4. The Yellow Jackets later got a runner on first and second, but with two outs. Following a pitching change by Heidelberg, the Student Princes got out of the inning without allowing any further damage, sending the game into extras.
In the top of the eighth, Heidelberg's lead-off batter reached base on an error, but the base runner who started on second via the international tiebreaker rules, could not advance. Hubler then recorded a big play defensively for Defiance at first base catching a line drive and stepping on first to make a critical double play. Heidelberg advanced the runner on the play, but Hubler came up big again on the very next batter fielding a ground ball that allowed her to step on first to end the inning. In the bottom of the frame, Defiance recorded two quick outs, but the second out would allow Patty to advance from second to third. On the very next at-bat, Warren hit the ball to the Heidelberg shortstop who mishandled the ball allowing Warren to reach first safely and Patty to cross homeplate for the 5-4 walk-off victory.
The two teams combined for 25 hits in game two, with Defiance recording 14 of those hits. Shough led all hitters going three-of-four with a run scored and two RBI. Bauer ended the game two-of-three, while Warren and sophomore Emily Denhard (Troy, Mich./Kolbe Academy) both went two-of-four. Warren also had a run scored and RBI. Rounding out the multi-hitters was Patty who was two-of-five and scored a pair of runs.
Freshman pitcher Sarah Kaya (Lorain/Clearview) pitched a complete game and claimed her first collegiate victory (1-3 overall). She allowed four runs on 11 hits and struck out 11 batters.
Defiance will travel to Lexington, Ky. for a twinbill against Transylvania (Ky.) University on Saturday, Mar. 21 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference opener. The first game is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.