The Foresters (13-29) pulled off two upsets on opening day of the MCC double elimination tournament yesterday to keep their season alive for at least one more day.
The 7th-seeded Foresters knocked off 2nd-seeded Bethel College 5-3 in their opening game. HU’s Lauren Ward held the Pilots to four hits and struck out six in the win. Bethel was ahead 2-1 heading into the fifth inning, but the Foresters rallied for four runs in the top of the fifth. Kaley Fode hit a one-out sacrifice fly to score Kendra Stahl and tie it at 2-2. Keri Badenhop then came up with what turned out to be the game-winning hit, a a bases-loaded double to deep left to drive in Ashley Scally and April Snider. Ward then helped herself with a RBI single that scored Badenhop. The Pilots got one back in the bottom of the fifth, but they would get no closer as Ward sat down the final six batters in order. Ward and Brittany Gower each had two hits to lead HU.
In their second game, the Marian College Knights used two big innings to rout the Foresters 15-1. Marian sent HU to the loser's bracket by scoring five runs in the third, two in the fifth and eight in the seventh. Ward gave up five runs, two earned, on five hits in three innings of work in the loss. She also walked two and struck out two.
In the loser’s bracket, HU then faced the 5th-seeded University of St. Francis in their final game of the day. Ward again helped the Foresters pull the upset with another gem on the mound. She allowed one unearned run on five hits while striking out seven. She also had two hits, including a double, and drove in two runs to lead the Forester offense.
HU did all of its damage against the Cougars in two innings. They got on the scoreboard with three runs in the second. Ward doubled to score Fode, then Ashley McCann executed a squeeze bunt to score Badenhop and Mindi Ahl drove in Ward on a sac fly to right-center. St. Francis committed three errors in the bottom of the sixth to allow the Foresters to plate three more and put the game out of reach. The Cougars scored a run in the top of the seventh, but Ward shut down the rally before it picked up any more steam.
HU now is scheduled for a re-match with Bethel this morning. If they win that game, they will then play the loser of the #1 Indiana Wesleyan/#3 Marian game at noon today.