CLERMONT, Fla. – The Franklin College softball team had a chance to complete a perfect road trip on Tuesday (Mar. 6) morning, taking on Finlandia and Wheaton in their final two games of their trip to the Sunshine State.
The Grizzlies (8-0) did just that, staying perfect on the young season. Franklin rolled past Finlandia for a 10-1 five-inning win in game one. Game two saw the Grizzlies score three times in both the fifth and sixth innings on their way to a 7-4 win over Wheaton.
Monica Collins had a big day at the plate for the Grizzlies, leading the team with five hits and four RBI on the day. Alexis Tarver drove in four runs and cracker her second home run of the year, while Grace Paszek finished with three RBI and her first round-tripper of 2018.
Game One: Franklin 10 – Finlandia 1 (5 inn.)
After falling behind by a run in the first, the Grizzlies responded with five tallies of their own in the bottom of the opening inning. Shelby Mager opened the scoring with a one-out RBI double and came into score one batter later on a run-scoring single from Natalie Weber to put Franklin in the lead for good.
Grace Paszek would follow with a towering two-run shot over the left field wall to stretch the elad to three. Emily Thompson would wrap up the scoring in the first with the Grizzlies' fifth straight hit, this one an infield single that scored Danielle Wyse.
Tarver added to the lead in the bottom of the second with her second home run in as many days, a two-run shot that stretched the lead to 7-1. Franklin tacked on two more runs in the third on a Collins RBI single and an unearned run. Grace Paszek capped the scoring with a run-scoring ground out in the bottom of the fourth.
That proved to be plenty of support for Franklin starter Olivia Paszek (4-0), who allowed just two hits and struck out five in another dominant performance in the circle.
Game Two: Franklin 7 – Wheaton 4
Franklin jumped out to an early lead when Tarver came in to score on a fielding error in the top of the first inning. But the Grizzly bats would go into hibernation over the next three innings while Wheaton strung together a run in the first and one in the third to take a 2-1 lead.
With nine outs left to make up one run, the Grizzlies broke through in the top of the fifth inning. With one out and two runners in scoring position, Collins drew the Grizzlies even with an RBI double that scored Taylor Bounin. Two batters later, Tarver put Franklin back in front with a two-run double that made it 4-2 Franklin.
The Thunder cut the lead in half in the bottom of the fifth, but Franklin would respond with three unearned runs in the sixth to put the game out of reach. A two-out fielding error allowed Thompson to score and keep the inning alive for the top of the order. Collins made the Thunder pay for the mistake with a two-run single that brought home Bounin and Justice Carmichael.
The late-game outburst was able to secure a win for FC starter Kayla Selzer (4-0). The sophomore allowed one earned run on four hits with three walks and three strikeouts over five innings of work. Wyse came in to finish off the last two innings, earning her second save in as many days.
The Grizzlies can now turn their attention to the 2018 home openers, which are set for Saturday (Mar. 10) afternoon at Behrens Field against Kalamazoo College. First pitch of game one is set for 1:00 p.m. at Behrens Field.