North Manchester, Ind. - The Franklin College softball team earned a split at defending Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) regular season champion Manchester University, winning the opener 10-3 and losing 9-8 in nine innings on Saturday from North Manchester, Indiana.
Franklin (13-11, 2-4 HCAC) scored six times in the fourth inning to turn a 3-2 deficit into an 8-3 advantage in the first game. The Grizzlies doubled up the Spartans with eight hits in the contest.
Manchester (4-12, 1-3 HCAC) took a 3-0 lead after the opening frame. Franklin answered with two runs in the top of the second inning to trim the deficit to one run, 3-2.
Then, the Grizzlies opened the fourth inning with a walk and two hit batters to load the bases. Freshman Megan Lalioff (Fishers, Ind./Fishers) gave the visitors a 4-3 lead with a two-run single. A sacrifice fly from sophomore McKensie Vanosdol (North Vernon, Ind./Jennings County) plated freshman Jasmine Hanna (Frankfort, Ind./Clinton Prairie) for the third run of the inning. Freshman Savannah Blevins (Wilkinson, Ind./Eastern Hancock) capped the inning with a two-run home run. Blevins' third home run of the season gave Franklin an 8-3 lead.
The team added two more runs in the sixth inning on singles by junior Jessica Ayers (Frankfort, Ind./Frankfort) and Blevins.
Lalioff went 3-for-4 with two runs batted and scoring two runs to lead the Grizzlies' offense. Blevins drove in three runs and added two hits. Ayers also contributed two hits in the victory.
Vanosdol got her ninth win in the circle in a complete-game effort. She did not allow a hit after Manchester's three-run first inning. Vanosdol struck out four batters in the contest.
In the second game, Franklin forced extra innings after trailing 8-2 in the fourth inning. The team trimmed the lead to 8-6 behind a four-run fifth inning. Vansodol got the comeback started with a two-run single that scored Lalioff and Ayers. Vansodol would later score on a double from sophomore Katie Struewing (Greenwood, Ind./Greenwood). The hit cut the lead to 8-5. Freshman Baylea Suiters (Indianapolis, Ind./Lutheran) chipped in with a run-scoring double to end the threat in the fifth inning.
In the seventh inning, the Grizzlies continued the comeback effort with a double from Struewing to plate Vanosdol. Trailing 8-7 with two outs, Suiters tied the game at 8-8 with a single to score freshman Shannon Farr (Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central).
The two teams battled back-and-forth in the extra innings before Manchester's Kylie Planck singled with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth to give the hosts the 9-8 triumph.
Offensively, Vanosdol and Struewing each had three-hit performances. Struewing also drove in three runs. Suiters added two hits and two RBI.
Franklin returns to action on Sunday, April 6 at 2:30 p.m. when it travels to Olivet College (Mich.) for a doubleheader. Live statistics of both games will be available here. In-game updates will also be available on Twitter (@FCAthletics) and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/FranklinCollegeAthletics).