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William Carey brings HU’s season to an end

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WALESKA, Ga. – The 3rd-seeded HU softball team’s season came to an end Tuesday night after suffering a 5-1 loss to top-seeded William Carey University (39-16) in an elimination game on day two of the 2016 NAIA National Championship Opening Round.

The Crusaders, ranked 8th in the final regular season poll, entered the contest averaging just under five runs per contest and lived up to that billing Tuesday night against the Foresters. WCU pieced together three of their ten hits and took advantage of an HU blunder in the third to plate three runs for a 3-0 advantage. They would go on touch home twice more in the fifth to make for their five-run outing.

HU’s only run came in the bottom of the third when Alyssa Hiple unloaded for a triple to drive in Audra Klopfenstein who had reached base on a fielder’s choice one batter prior. Hiple’s three-bagger was one of just three HU hits on the night as Katie DePew and Marty Harris were the only other Foresters to hammer out base pokes.

Ariel Sheets (14-9) was charged with the loss. The senior hurler tossed the first five frames and gave up eight hits, five runs, only one of which was earned, and a walk while striking out four. Emily Puterbaugh (22-6) came on in relief to work the final two innings where she gave up two hits while striking out five which included fanning the last four batters she faced.

While the season ended a bit sooner than Coach Gower and crew would have liked, the Foresters still had plenty to celebrate as they enjoyed a record-breaking 37 wins on the year and tallied the program’s first ever win in the NAIA’s postseason.

HU (37-19) graduates four seniors in Katie DePew, Emily O’Leary, Emily Puterbaugh and Ariel Sheets. The foursome collected 120 wins over their four years in green and white in addition to guiding the Foresters to the program’s only two NAIA National Championship appearances.  

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.