FRANKLIN, Ind. – Facing off against one of the top teams in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC), the Franklin College softball team passed Saturday's challenge with flying colors, sweeping Mount St. Joseph University at Behrens Field.
Game one saw the Grizzlies (22-6, 9-3 HCAC) erased a late-game deficit with a six-run fifth inning that proved to be the catalyst for a 6-2 win. The Lions (17-11, 6-4 HCAC) jumped out to a two-run lead in the night cap, but once again Franklin would rally, this time for a 5-2 comeback victory.
Senior Morgan Burch drove in a team-high three runs on the day, including the game-tying two-run single in game two. Alexis Tarver would notch the game-winning RBI in the night cap, part of a team-high three runs driven on Saturday.
Game One: Franklin 6 – Mount St. Joseph 2
The Lions jumped on Franklin starter Olivia Paszek in the top of the second, scoring two runs on a double from MaKayla Hanes to take the early lead. But the Grizzly ace would settle down and keep the guests off the board the rest of the way, and in the fifth inning she got some help from her offense.
Monica Collins and Lexi Gaffney led off the fifth with consecutive singles and both came in to score when Tarver laced a double into left field, tying the game. Jaclyn Tackett would come in to run for Tarver, scoring when catcher Natalie Weber followed with a double of her own to put Franklin in front.
Grace Paszek added to the lead two batters later, singling home Weber from third. Burch added another run later in the inning with a sacrifice fly and was followed by a pinch-hit RBI single from Kimmie Kuehr to cap the scoring.
That proved to be plenty of insurance for Olivia Paszek (13-1), who walked one and struck out four while tossing yet another complete game.
Game Two: Franklin 5 – Mount St. Joseph 2
The Lions took advantage of two Grizzly errors in the second inning to open up another 2-0 lead. That lead wouldn't last long, as Burch came through in the Franklin half of the second inning with a single that brought home Justice Carmichael and Grace Paszek.
One inning later, Franklin grabbed a lead they wouldn't let go of when Tarver drove a double into the left center field gap, scoring Collins and making it a 3-2 game. Kuehr drove in her second run of the day with an RBI groundout in the fourth and Danielle Wyse would follow suit with an RBI ground out in the sixth.
That was all the help Franklin starter Kayla Selzer (9-4) needed, as the Indianapolis-native allowed just three hits and struck out five. Selzer was dominant after surrendering a pair of unearned runs in the second, yielding just two hits over the final five innings while her offense went to work.
Franklin will get right back at it on Sunday (Apr. 22), with two more home games at Behrens Field. The Grizzlies will take on Defiance College on Senior Day, with festivities honoring the team's six seniors taking place before game one. First pitch is set for 1:00 p.m.