HANOVER, Ind. – The Franklin College softball team wrapped up Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) play on Wednesday (Apr. 25) afternoon with a twin bill against the Hanover Panthers.
Game one saw the Grizzlies (24-8, 11-5 HCAC) jump out to an early six run lead, giving them enough cushion to coast to an 11-3 win. Franklin jumped out to an early lead in the second game, but the Panthers (15-15, 5-7 HCAC) rallied back to tie the game before winning in walk-off fashion, 4-3.
Justice Carmichael had four hits and drove in five runs on Wednesday night, belting her second home run of the year in game one.
Game One: Franklin 11 – Hanover 3 (6 inn.)
Lauren Huebler got the Grizzlies on the board in the top of the second, bringing home Carmichael with an RBI single. Two batters later, the Grizzlies claimed a 2-0 lead when a fielding error allowed Morgan Burch to score. Alexis doubled the lead later inning the inning with a two-run single.
Franklin continued the onslaught in the third with RBI singles from Lexi Gaffney and Collins to make it a 6-0 game. After two runs from the Panthers in the fourth, Franklin would make it a 7-2 game when Lexi Gaffney reached second, stole third and came in to score on a throwing error.
Carmichael dealt the Panthers the knockout blow in the top of the sixth. With two on and one out, the Franklin right fielder smacked a pitch over the left field wall for her second home run of the year and an eight-run Franklin lead. Later in the inning, some heads-up base running from Emily Thompson allowed her to score on a Kimmie Kuehr sacrifice fly, capping the Franklin scoring.
Olivia Paszek (15-1) extended her conference-leading win total with a victory in the opener. The Franklin, Ind.-native allowed three runs on nine hits, walking none and striking out six for her 16th complete game effort of the year.
Game Two: Hanover 4 – Franklin 3
Franklin turned to a little bit of small ball to take the lead in game two. Gaffney led off the third inning with a bunt single, stole two bases and came in to score on a Shelby Mager bunt single to give the Grizzlies the lead.
Hanover would take their first lead of the afternoon with two runs in the fifth, but Franklin countered in the sixth inning on a two-out, two-run double off the bat of Carmichael to put the guests back in front.
But the lead was short-lived as Hanover evened things up in the sixth. The Grizzlies would go down in order in the seventh before the Panthers completed the comeback with a walk-off single from McKenzie Writt.
Kayla Selzer (9-6) took the decision for the Grizzlies, allowing four runs on 12 hits with one walk and three strikeouts in a complete game effort.
With the conference season in the rear-view mirror for the Grizzlies, they turn their attention to the regular season finale on Monday (Apr. 30) afternoon when they welcome Wilmington College to Behrens Field for a pair of games. First pitch is set for 3:30 p.m.