CLERMONT, Fla. – On the final day of their spring break trip, the Franklin College softball team will be taking momentum with them into their conference opener following a pair of wins on Wednesday (Mar. 27).
The opener saw the Grizzlies (7-9) hammer out 16 hits and get a dominant pitching performance in a 6-2 win over the University of Chicago. After rain pushed the second game of the day against UW-Oshkosh to Wednesday night, the Grizzlies got another strong pitching performance and double-digit hitting performance to each an identical 6-2 win over the Titans.
Game One: Franklin 6 – Chicago 2
With two outs in the top of the first, the Grizzlies capitalized on a Maroon miscue to open the scoring. Natalie Weber ripped a single to left field that was followed by a fielding error that allowed Shelby Mager to round third and score the opening run.
Franklin left the bags full in the fourth but the Grizzlies would once again take advantage of a Chicago defensive miscue to extend their lead in the fifth. With two on and two outs in the inning, Abby Hickson hit a ground ball that was misplayed and allowed both Weber and Justice Carmichael to score and extend the lead to 3-0.
The Grizzlies padded their lead the following inning, scoring three more times with two outs in the frame. Weber brought home two runs with a double to left field and came in to score one batter later when Danielle Wyse singled to left, putting the contest out of reach.
Junior Kayla Selzer (4-5) was brilliant in the circle for Franklin, allowing one earned run on three hits with one walk and two strikeouts in a complete game effort. The three hits allowed are the fewest in a seven-inning contest by the Indianapolis, Ind.-native.
Game Two: Franklin 6 – UW-Oshkosh 2
Franklin opened the scoring for the second straight game by taking advantage of an opponent's mistake. With two outs and a runner on first, Weber singled to right field and following a throwing error getting the ball in, Mager was able to score all the way from first for the opening run. One batter later, Weber came in to score from first on Danielle Wyse's double into the right center field gap.
The Titans plated both of their runs in the top of the second, but Franklin claimed the lead for a second time in their half of the inning with another two-out rally. Taylor Bounin led off the inning with a single and advanced to third with two down for Lexi Gaffney, who legged out a bunt single that scored Bounin and make it a 3-2 game.
That score would hold until the bottom of the fifth when Franklin put the game out of reach, striking for three runs with two outs. Justice Carmichael made it a 4-2 team when she brought a run home with a fielder's choice. Emily Thompson and Taylor Bounin would follow with back-to-back RBI singles, stretching the lead to four.
Alisha Burch (2-4) turned in a stellar performance in the circle, allowing just four hits on her way to her fourth complete game of the year. Gaffney, Carmichael and Bounin all finished with two hits while Weber scored twice to cap her strong afternoon.
Franklin returns home ready to start conference play on Friday (Mar. 29) afternoon, when they host Anderson University at Behrens Field. First pitch is set for 3:30 p.m.