NEW CONCORD, Ohio -- Denison softball traveled to New Concord, Ohio on Monday afternoon where they split a doubleheader with Muskingum University, avenging a 4-2 loss in game one to take the second game, 5-3, at Donna J. Newberry Stadium.
Totaling 16 hits in two games, the Big Red offense ignited early in the second game to give starter Colleen Hoffman a lead to work within the first two innings. The junior went six innings strong, allowing three runs on six hits with one strikeout in the circle.
After Hoffman cruised through the top of the order in the first, DU scored the first run of the game in the top of the second when a single from Lindsey Clemson looked to load the bases, but an error by Muskingum's left fielder moved the runners up a base, scoring Ricki Asher to give Denison the 1-0 lead.
The Muskies made it a 3-1 game when Haylea DeBolt hit a solo home run to right in the bottom of the fourth, but DU tacked on two more runs in the next half inning after Lauren Secaras led the fifth off with a homer to center and Asher drove home junior Maddie Crull with an RBI single. Denison carried a 5-1 lead into the sixth frame.
Leading 5-2 entering the bottom of the seventh, the Muskies looked to have the inning in their favor after Melissa Maiorano started things off with a lead-off double. Following a pinch runner for Maiorano, Jolyn Shunk slapped an RBI single to left to score Alexia Dowdle and cut the Denison lead to 5-3.
The Big Red went to Secaras in relief to finish out the game, and she did just that. With the help of a throw out at second by Clemson, Secaras took care of the remaining two outs for her first save of the season and the DU victory.
Including the save, Secaras highlighted the win with a 1-for-3 performance at the plate and a home run. Herold turned in the most consistent performance at the plate, going 2-for-3 with three RBIs.
In game one, the Big Red went to Herold on the mound where she allowed four runs on eight hits over six innings of work with seven strikeouts.
After the offense was held at bay during the first four innings of play, the DU bats started to connect in the fifth. With two quick outs to start the inning, a walk to Emilie Fisher and a single by Secaras put runners on first and second with two outs.
In the next at-bat, Amanda Howell sent an RBI single out to left, scoring Fisher in the process to trail the Muskies by one run, 2-1, as they entered the home half of the fifth.
The bottom of the fifth looked promising for Denison when Muskingum's Jennifer Schrader started the inning with a fly out to center, but after Karsyn Shaffer followed with a single, Krissy Hughes plated the pair with a two-run home run to right that put the Muskies ahead 4-1 entering the sixth inning.
The Big Red went back to work at their deficit in the sixth when Clemson sent Asher home on an RBI single to right, cutting the MU lead to 4-2 after six innings played.
In the seventh, starter Rachel Eberling sat down three of the final four Denison batters to secure her seventh win of the season on two runs allowed and four strikeouts in a complete game effort.
Secaras and Laura Bagan led the DU effort, each going 2-for-4 in the game. The split moves Denison to 4-2 overall, while Muskingum now sits at 16-2 on the season.
The Big Red will return to Granville on Wednesday, March 28 for a doubleheader with the Otterbein Cardinals starting at 3:30 p.m.