HUNTINGTON, Ind. – The HU softball team has earned a reputation for scoring runs late in the game and that proved true again Saturday afternoon as they tallied two runs in the sixth in the opener to win 4-2 and then pieced together an impressive seven-inning rally to pull out a 5-4 victory in the nightcap to sweep the season series against Spring Arbor University.
With these wins, Huntington improves to 15-10 overall, 8-4 in league play.
All the action in game one came in two innings. The Cougars got on the board first with a pair of runs in the third but the Foresters were quick to respond by matching that run total in their half of the frame.
Bess Fiechter bunted for a base hit to start things off and then two wild throws later, came in to score to pull her team within one. Emily O’Leary also benefitted from those wild throws by reaching base then making it to third before Annie Weaver knocked her in with a single to right to knot things up at 2-2.
It was quiet the next two innings as both teams managed only one hit apiece but the sixth was a different story as Huntington, with two outs, got clutch hits from O’Leary, Caylan DeLucia and Weaver. All three Foresters ripped doubles with DeLucia and Weaver’s both going for RBIs to take their first lead of the day at 4-2.
The advantage stuck as starting pitcher Emily Puterbaugh worked a 1-2-3 seventh for the win. She scattered six hits, two runs and six walks while striking out seven to improve to 4-3 on the season.
Weaver finished with two run-scoring hits to pace HU offensively. Katie Knous also logged a pair of hits.
Just like the opener, the Foresters never led until the end but this time around, HU headed into their last at-bats down by a run, 4-3. The dramatic finish was near perfect for the hosts as they hammered out four hits that ended with Katie DePew sending one to the fence for a walk-off single. Setting the stage for DePew’s seven-inning heroics included base pokes by O’Leary, Natalie McGuire and Weaver.
After giving up a run to the Cougars in the first, Lindsey Shellabarger sent her first pitch over the center field fence later that that inning to draw even with the visitors. Spring Arbor struck again for two runs in the third, which included a long ball by Alika Kingsbury.
The Foresters narrowed the gap to one later that frame when Kaitlyn Troyer, who had opened up with a single to center, advanced to second on McGuire’s sacrifice bunt and then scampered home on a wild throw to make for a 3-2 contest.
HU went on to deadlock the score at 3-3 two innings later on Weaver’s fourth RBI of the series, a single to second. But it was a short-lived stalemate as the Cougars answered in the top of the sixth by hammering out two hits and taking advantage of a Forester error to score their second unearned run of the contest for a 4-3 advantage.
Momentum clearly favored the Cougars as they held Huntington to a single hit in their half of the frame but a resilient Forester squad regrouped by their final at-bat to mount the impressive come-from-behind win.
Starting pitcher Marcie McDougle worked the first four innings before being relieved by Ariel Sheets who logged the win. She gave up two hits and a run in three innings of work.
Weaver picked up another two hits and drove in just as many runs in the nightcap to pace her team at the plate. O’Leary and McGuire also finished with two hits apiece.
The Foresters are back in action on Monday to host Bethel, currently ranked second in league standings, at 3:00 p.m.