FRANKLIN, Ind. – After eight days of rain, snow and several delays, the Franklin College softball team finally opened Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) play with a pair of games against Rose-Hulman at Behrens Field.
The Grizzlies (15-3, 2-0 HCAC) made quick work of the Engineers (5-9, 0-2 HCAC), starting off the conference schedule with a pair of wins. Franklin started strong and pulled away late in game one for a 7-1 win. Game two saw the Grizzlies score nine runs over the final two innings on their way to a 12-3 victory in five innings.
Alexis Tarver had a huge day on offense for the Grizzlies, reaching base in 7-of-8 plate appearances while crushing a pair of home runs. Natalie Weber finished with six hits and drove in five runs on the afternoon.
Game One: Franklin 7 – Rose-Hulman 1
Just three batters into the bottom of the first, the Grizzlies had a lead they wouldn't relinquish. After Shelby Mager drew a one-out walk, Tarver launched a ball over the center field wall for her fourth round-tripper of the year and a 2-0 Franklin lead.
After being held hitless for four innings, the Engineers broke through with three hits in the fifth that led to their lone run of the game. Olivia Paszek limited the damage to a run, stranding the bases loaded to end the inning.
Franklin would add to their lead with three more runs in the sixth. Weber collected her second two-run single of the game and was followed by an RBI ground-out from Justice Carmichael. Paszek closed out the win with a spotless seventh inning.
Paszek (9-0) remained perfect on the year after allowing four hits with three walks and nine strikeouts in a complete game effort.
Game Two: Franklin 12 – Rose-Hulman 3 (5 inn.)
Franklin opened the scoring in their half of the first inning when a Rose throwing error allowed Mager to score all the way from first on a Tarver single. Franklin added another run in the second when Monica Collins ripped a single to right, scoring pinch-runner Jaclyn Tackett to make it 2-0.
The Engineers would answer with a two-out rally in the third that plated a pair of runs to tie the game. The Grizzlies would take advantage of another throwing error to plate their third run of the game in their half of the third. Rose would counter in the fourth with a pair of doubles that led to another run, knotting the game up at three.
But the Grizzlies would squash their guests' comeback bid in the bottom of the inning. After singles from Collins and Mager to start the inning, Tarver blasted the first pitch of the at-bat over the wall to stretch the lead to 6-3. One inning later, Danielle Wyse got in on the action with the long ball, sending one over the left center field wall for a two-run shot and her first career home run.
The Grizzlies continued to pour it on with a sac fly from Hayley Taylor and another RBI single from Weber. Carmichael ended the game with a two-run double to right center field with one out in the fifth.
Kayla Selzer (6-2) allowed just three hits and one unearned run in a complete game victory. Selzer walked four and fanned six Engineer hitters on the night.
Franklin continues their conference schedule on Saturday (Apr. 7) afternoon, heading north for a pair of games against the Manchester Spartans. First pitch from North Manchester, Ind. is set for 1:00 p.m.