The Denison softball split the final two games of its spring trip at the Tucson Invitational Games on Friday in Tucson, Ariz. The Big Red opened Friday with a 7-5 win over Gustavus Adolphus, but suffered a 4-3 setback to Pomona-Pitzer in the nightcap.
In the opener, Gustavus Adolphus took advantage of an early miscue and scored two unearned runs off freshman pitcher Erin Laswell. Denison wasted no time tying the contest in the bottom of the first when senior Meghan Edwards launched a two-run homer to left center with two outs. The Big Red added to its lead in the next frame thanks to three-consecutive two-out singles. Senior Heather Larsen got things going with a base hit up the middle, while junior Ellen McDevitt-Stredney followed with a bunt single. Junior Julie Rooney delivered the run-scoring blow with a base hit to right center.
The Golden Gusties regained a one-run lead behind a two-run third inning. With runners at second and third, Kaitlyn Bicek drove in a run on a ground out to second. With two outs, a single through the left side by Kailey Morgan put GAC back in front 4-3. Like before, the Gustavus lead was short lived as the Big Red pushed across three runs in the bottom of the third. With two on and two out, senior Rachel Laughlin dropped a single into center that scored Gretchen Staubach. Larsen followed with a double to left center that plated Ryan Lee and Laughlin. Staubach tacked on another insurance run in the fifth with her second home run of the season.
After tossing six strong innings, Laswell gave up a base hit and walked a batter to open the seventh. With the game-tying run stepping in the batter's box, Head Coach Tiffany Ozbun congratulated her freshman on a job well done and handed the ball to senior pitcher Rebecca Dyer. Dyer quickly induced a ground ball to short for the first out. After surrendering a single to center, the senior pitcher went on to strikeout the next two batters to nail down her first save of the season.
All nine starters in the Denison batting order recorded a hit. Larsen and Rooney led the charge with two hits each, while Edwards and Larsen each drove in a pair. Staubach also touched the dish twice. Laswell (2-1) went six innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on nine hits with one strikeout. Dyer tossed a one-hit, two-strikeout seventh to earn her fifth-career save.
In game two, the Sagehens scored twice in the second and third innings to take a 4-0 lead after three. Denison centerfielder Kerry Hager led off the fourth with a triple to left field. Lee followed the three-base hit, with a double to left that easily scored Hager.
In the sixth, the Big Red began to get to freshman pitcher Bianca Cockrell. Hager led off the inning with a double, while a walk to Edwards put runners at first and second. DU loaded the bases when an errant throw to third allowed Hager to reach third base safely. Laughlin delivered a double to center that plated two runs, shrinking the deficit to one. After a mound visit, Cockrell regained her composure and retired the next three hitters in order. Despite getting a two-out single in the seventh, Pomona-Pitzer held on for the one-run victory after Cockrell induced a pop up to second.
Hager finished a home run short of the cycle after going 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Laughlin also recorded a pair of hits, including a double, and two RBIs. Lindsay Divack (1-1) suffered her first loss of the year after allowing two runs on two hits in two innings of work, while Kelsey Hager gave up two runs on three hits in the third frame. Dyer tossed the final three innings, scattering two hits and striking out four.
Aryana Yee recorded two of the Sagehens seven hits. She also had a sacrifice bunt and stole a base. Cockrell improved to 2-8 after going the distance. The freshman allowed three runs on seven hits with four strikeouts and two walks.
Denison returns to Ohio with a 6-4 record. The Big Red returns to the diamond on Monday when they host Capital University. Game one of the doubleheader is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m.