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HU gets back on track with two wins over MVNU

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MOUNT VERNON, Ohio – The HU softball team got back on track Tuesday afternoon at Cougar Field with a pair of wins over Mount Vernon Nazarene University (17-25, 10-17) to snap their five-game skid. With these wins, the Foresters improve to 25-13 overall, 18-8 in league play.

Game one was short and sweet thanks to the mercy rule as Huntington took care of business in five innings to notch the 8-0 win.

After two frames of scoreless ball, HU’s bats came to life two outs into the third. Katie DePew was the first to reach base after being hit by a pitch followed by Audra Klopfenstein’s single down the right field line. It set the stage for an RBI-single by Alyssa Hiple and two-run double by Marty Harris for a 3-0 Huntington advantage.

Two frames later, the Foresters sent ten batters to the plate where they hammered out six hits for five runs. Just like the third, it was a two-out rally. With bases loaded, O’Leary started the scoring frenzy with a single up the middle to drive in two runs. Katelyn Shafer found a gap in right-center to push two more runs across home plate and then Bess Fiechter capped things off with an RBI-single through the hole at second base to make for the 8-0 final.

Coach Gower’s crew outhit MVNU 9-4. Hiple and Klopfenstein each finished with a pair of hits and scored twice for the Foresters. Hiple also tallied an RBI while Harris, O’Leary and Shafer registered a hit, a run scored and two RBI to make for a balanced attack.

Emily Puterbaugh earned the win on the mound. The right-hander scattered four hits and struck out three for her seventh shutout of the year, the second against the Cougars. She currently ranks 15th in the NAIA in earned run average (1.20).

The nightcap was more of the same but this time is was Ariel Sheets who logged the complete-game shutout. For Sheets, it was her fourth clean sheet of the year as she gave up four hits while striking out one to wrap up the twin bill.

Sheets had more than enough help from her teammates at the plate but that help didn’t come until fifth. Knotted at 0-0 heading into the fifth, Natalie McGuire finally drove in her team’s first run with a double to deep left to bring home O’Leary who had singled to open the frame.

In Huntington’s next at bat, O’Leary posted an RBI-single to push the lead to 2-0 before the Foresters unloaded for three runs in the seventh to blow the game wide open. Fiechter started things off with a single and eventually came around to score on DePew’s sacrifice fly. Hiple knocked in a run with a shot up the middle while the Foresters’ final run was the result of a wild throw.

Hiple and O’Leary paced the Foresters offensively with two hits and an RBI apiece. Just like game one, HU logged nine hits to the Cougars’ four.

After 14 games in eight days, the Foresters finally have a break before hosting Taylor University on Friday at 3:00 p.m.

The Huntington University Foresters compete in 17 intercollegiate sports for men and women. In the past decade, Huntington has produced 39 NAIA All-America honors and 234 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.