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HU opens season with two losses to Quincy

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WESTFIELD, Ind. - The HU softball team kicked off its season Monday afternoon at Grand Park with a pair of losses, 9-1, 6-5, to Quincy University. The Hawks entered the day with four games already under their belt and the experience seemed to pay off in the opener as they made quick work of the Foresters to shorten the game by two innings.

Huntington’s only run came in the second when Joelle Beals tripled to start things off and then touched home two batters later on Karley Blankenship’s RBI-groundout. Quincy had already jumped out to a 4-0 advantage so the run made for a 4-1 ballgame after two.

QU would add three more in the fourth and extend it to eight with two more in the fifth to put into effect the eight-run rule.

The Foresters finished with six hits to Quincy’s 13. Paige Eichelberger pounded out two hits for HU.

Starting pitcher Mallory West took the loss for Gower’s crew. The rookie hurler tossed the first 4.2 innings and gave up all nine runs on ten hits and three walks while striking out three.

The nightcap was a battle to the bitter end as the lead traded several times before the Hawks took advantage of an errant throw to first in the top of the sixth to plate two unearned runs. The misfortunate play extended Quincy’s one-run advantage to three at 6-3 advantage heading into the seventh.

With one more chance at the plate, HU rallied behind Audra Klopfenstein who clocked a shot deep for a triple. Casey Lehman followed up with a blast to the right field fence that not only brought Klopfenstein home but allowed Lehman to make her way around the bases for an in park homer.

It pulled the Foresters within a single run but unfortunately, reliever Sam Demuth worked the final two outs swiftly to preserve her team’s win. Demuth took the mound in the fourth and gave up four hits and two runs while striking out two for the W.

Lairen Miller was tagged with the loss for HU. She spent 5.1 innings in the circle where she gave up nine hits, six runs, four of which were earned, and four walks.

Huntington enjoyed the game’s first lead on Beals’ run-scoring single in the second. The Hawks, considered the home team in game two, countered with a pair runs in their half of the frame to steal the lead at 2-1.

Gower’s squad fired right back in the third to reclaim an advantage when Miller, with bases loaded, drilled a shot to the pitcher’s mound for an infield single that scored Klopfenstein who had reached on a walk earlier in the inning. Lehman then scampered home on a wild pitch shortly after for the 3-2 advantage.

HU’s sticks were quiet until the seventh while Quincy found home twice more, once in the third and again in the fifth, before their two-run sixth.  

Lehman did everything in pairs for Huntington to finish with two hits and two RBI while scoring twice. As a team, Huntington posted seven hits and drew five walks while only striking out twice.

The Foresters (0-2) are slated to host Indiana Tech on March 6 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 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.