GRANVILLE, Ohio – Headlined by 24 combined hits and seven RBI's from senior Sarah Herold, Denison softball earned a pair of NCAC wins on Wednesday afternoon, sweeping Kenyon College with a 7-1 victory in game one, and then a 12-4 win in game two.
The magic started for the Big Red in game one when Herold entered the circle and looked brilliant in her sixth start of the season. Allowing one run on three hits in seven innings of work, Herold tallied eight strikeouts in her fourth win of the year.
After senior Lauren Secaras notched an RBI double to right center in the bottom of the first to give Denison a 1-0 lead, Herold helped her cause in the circle as she launched a two-run home run over the leftfield wall, putting the Big Red ahead, 3-0. Secaras singled in the next at-bat, and following a stolen base and a wild pitch, Amanda Howell hit a sacrifice ground out to the shortstop to score Secaras from third and give Denison a 4-0 advantage entering the fourth.
Senior Mckinly Vazquez tacked onto the lead in the bottom of fourth when she drove Lindsey Clemson home on a single to second off Kenyon starter, Keely Sweet, and after Herold scored on a wild pitch in the fifth, Laura Bagan lifted a solo home run to left center to increase the Denison lead to 7-0 after five innings played.
In the top of the sixth, Herold ran into a bit of trouble when Kenyon's Madi Maldonado scored on a pop up from Lauren Graf to cut the KC deficit to 7-1 after six innings, but Herold sealed the win in the seventh with three outs over four batters to take the first of two games from the Ladies.
Including the pitching victory, Herold went 1-for-3 at the dish with two runs scored and two RBI's. Secaras helped the Big Red with an RBI and a run scored in a 2-for-3 effort.
In game two, the Big Red bats refused to slow down as they gave starter Colleen Hoffman an early lead to work with.
With a runner on second and two outs in the bottom of the second, Charlotte Happel punched a double to right field, scoring Bagan from second to give DU their first lead of game two, 1-0. In the next at-bat, Vazquez hit an RBI double off Kenyon's Austen Whibley to score Happel and increase the lead to 2-0.
The Ladies countered in the third when Grace Finn grounded out to second to score Amanda Coyle and the next batter, Emily Buckwalter, tied the game at 2-2 when she reached first on an error, scoring Maldonado.
In the home half of the inning, the Big Red shot right back after Herold led the inning off with a single to right, and Secaras followed with a double, putting runners at second and third with nobody out.
Howell grounded out to KC's first baseman, Grace Pilz, in the next at-bat, but an errant throw from Pilz to third scored Herold and sent Secaras to third, giving Denison the lead back at 3-2.
After three innings of work, that would mark the end of the day for Hoffman who finished with one earned run on two hits allowed and five strikeouts. Secaras would take the circle for the remainder of the game, starting the top of the fourth with three quick outs.
Herold and Vazquez tallied RBI singles in the bottom of the fourth to put the Big Red ahead, 5-2, but two more runs from the Ladies in the top of the fifth made it a 5-4 game entering the bottom of the inning.
The DU offense went back to work in the home half of the fifth, starting with an RBI single to right from Happel, and Vazquez scored Clemson with the next at-bat with a single up the middle.
Leading 7-4, Kenyon went to the pen for Jace Juliano in relief, and after a walk to Emilie Fisher, Herold added another RBI with a single to the shortstop that scored Happel. A sacrifice fly from Secaras followed in the next plate appearance to give Denison a 9-4 lead entering the sixth.
The Big Red ended the game early in the bottom of the sixth when Herold recorded her final three RBI's on a double to left center, putting the mercy rule into effect after six innings and giving Denison their first conference sweep of the season. DU improved to 8-4 overall, while Kenyon dropped to 15-11 on the season.
Refusing to slow down after her heroics in game one, Herold finished game two with five RBI's and one run scored in a 4-for-5 performance. Happel ended the game with two RBI's and Vazquez tallied three runs batted in during her 3-for-3 effort.
The Big Red will return to action this Saturday, April 7 when they travel to Oberlin College for a doubleheader set to begin at 1 p.m.