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HU enjoys two wins in home opener against Indiana Tech

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HUNTINGTON, Ind. - The HU softball team picked up two wins, 4-3, 8-5, over Indiana Tech in their home opener Thursday afternoon. The Foresters have now won seven out of their last eight contests to improve to 8-6 overall.

It took two innings of the international tiebreaker rule in affect to determine the winner of the opener with Joelle Beals finally ending things with a one-out walk-off sacrifice fly with bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth for the HU victory.

Starting with the top of the eighth, a runner was placed on second base and it paid off for both teams as each scored in the first ITB inning. For HU, it was Meghan Fretz’s blast that ricocheted off the left field fence for an RBI-double that allowed Sophia Beachy, who started on second, to scamper home and knot things up at 3s to extend the game another frame.

Lairen Miller, who tossed all nine innings for HU, made quick work of the Warriors in the top of the ninth by working three quick outs to give her team the chance to end things in their half of the frame which is exactly what Beals and crew did.

For as exciting as the last few frames were for Forester fans, the beginning of the contest was just the opposite. It took Gower’s squad until the sixth to finally string together enough hits to find home. Beachy started things off in the sixth with a base poke, Casey Lehman ripped a double to left after which Fretz matched that with her own two-bagger to drive in both teammates.

The Warriors didn’t seem to have much going on early either but all that changed in the fourth when Emily Martin and Marta Pasqualini each clocked one over the fence to skirt in front 2-0 before Fretz finally got her team on the board two innings later.

Batting clean up, Fretz finished 2-for-3 at the plate, both doubles, to go along with three RBI to pace Huntington offensively.

Miller picked up the complete-game win by giving up eight hits and two runs while striking out three to improve to 4-1 on the season.

Fretz took to the circle in the nightcap and also claimed her fourth win of the year. The rookie hurler went the distance to give up five hits, five runs, only two of which were earned, and six walks while striking out two.

It wasn’t the cleanest of games as between the two teams, five errors were committed which led to three unearned runs for each team.

Fretz continued her tear at the plate by driving in HU’s first run in the first on yet another RBI-double. Huntington added three runs in the second. Ashley Brown doubled in Mallory West who reached on a Warrior missed popup to start things off. Brown eventually stole home and a few batters later, Beachy touched home on a wild throw, Tech’s second error of the frame, to push Huntington’s lead to 4-0.

Both teams scored in the third, HU’s by way of West’s sacrifice fly, to keep the four-run difference intact at 5-1. While Tech would outscore the Foresters 4-3 over the final four frames which included touching home twice in the seventh, the lead was too hefty for any sort of heroic finish by the visitors.

Huntington’s final three runs all came in the bottom of the fourth. Just like the second, HU posted three hits in the frame. Paige Eichelberger highlighted the inning with her first collegiate triple good for an RBI. On either side of Eichelberger’s big hit, Beals scored on a passed ball and Abby Keaffaber doubled her in.

The Foresters outhit Tech 11-5. Eichelberger was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate. She also scored twice and drove in a run. Beals and Keaffaber each added a pair of hits.

Gower’s crew finished with doubleheader with eight doubles. Of Huntington’s 114 hits on the year, 35 have been two-baggers.

HU is back in action tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. to host Spring Arbor.

The Huntington University Foresters compete in 17 intercollegiate sports for men and women. In the past decade, Huntington has produced 38 NAIA All-America honors and 274 All-America Scholar Athlete honors. Huntington University is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. U.S. News & World Report ranks Huntington among the best colleges in the Midwest.