NAPERVILLE, Ill. – Following an 11-day layoff, the Franklin College softball team resumed their season on Tuesday (Mar. 27) afternoon with a pair of games against the North Central College Cardinals.
Down by four runs late in game one, the Grizzlies (12-2) exploded for seven runs over the final two innings to rally for an 8-5 win. Game two saw the Grizzlies out-hit the Cardinals (10-2), but Franklin came up just short in their bid for the sweep, falling 2-1.
Game One: Franklin 8 – North Central 5
Down by a run after two innings, the Grizzlies drew even in their half of the third inning on an RBI double from Alexis Tarver that brought Shelby Mager in from first base. But the Cardinals would re-take the lead with a two-out rally in the fifth that produced four runs and made it a 5-1 game.
But the hosts' big fifth inning only fired up the Grizzly bats, as Franklin responded with a huge sixth inning. Grace Paszek reached with a one-out double, starting a rally that saw the next five Grizzlies reach base with base hits. Paszek scores on an RBI single from Lexi Gaffney, who would score one batter later on an RBI triple by Lauren Huebler.
Two batters later, Monica Collins cut the lead to one with an RBI single, followed by a run-scoring groundout from Shelby Mager that tied the game. Natalie Weber capped the six-run frame and put Franklin on top with a two-out, two-run double. Huebler added an insurance run in the seventh, scoring on an error to cap the scoring.
Tarver finished with three hits and reached base all four times for the Grizzlies in game one. Emily Thompson and Huebler each had a pair of hits as well. Grace Paszek (7-0) took the ball for game one and struck out seven hitters in a complete game effort.
Game Two: North Central 2 – Franklin 1
The Grizzlies jumped on a Cardinal mistake to open the scoring in the first inning. Collins reached on an error to open the game and came in to score with two outs on Weber's second RBI double of the afternoon.
Franklin had a chance to stretch their lead in the top of the fifth, but couldn't produce a run despite three hits in the frame. North Central would respond with two runs in the bottom of the frame to take the lead.
The Grizzlies would have one last chance to plate the equalizer, putting runners in scoring position with one out in the seventh. But Franklin came up just short as North Central retired a pair of Grizzly hitters to end the threat and the game.
Kayla Selzer (5-2) pitched well for the Grizzlies in defeat, allowing just four hits and striking out six in her third complete game effort of the year. Danielle Wyse and Taylor Bounin had a pair of hits each for Franklin.
The Grizzlies will be back on the diamond on Wednesday (Mar. 28) afternoon, traveling to Westfield, Ind. for a pair of games against Wisconsin-Platteville on Diamond 14 at Grand Park. First pitch is set for noon.