GRANVILLE, Ohio-- Denison split a North Coast Athletic Conference doubleheader with Wittenberg on Tuesday afternoon. The Big Red won game one behind six strong innings from Sarah Herold. In game two, Wittenberg staved off a Denison rally in the seventh to escape with a 2-1 win.
In the opener, Denison third baseman Amanda Howell delivered the game's first big hit when she blasted an opposite field three-run home run over the wall in right field, scoring Lauren Secaras and Herold.
In the circle, Herold had things under control, striking out nine through five innings.
In the bottom of the fifth, Herold started things off with an infield single. Secaras moved her over to third base with a double to the wall in left. One of the game's biggest moments occurred when Howell hit a comebacker that was fielded by Wittenberg pitcher Chelsea Zang. She attempted to look Herold back to third before retiring Howell at first base. Instead of retreating to third, Herold bolted for home plate as soon as Zang released the throw to first and her heads-up base running gave Denison a 4-0 lead.
The Tigers got on the board in the sixth with two runs off three hits. Herold worked out of a jam by inducing a groundout to third base.
After a lead-off walk in the top of the seventh, Herold was relieved by Secaras with Denison on top, 6-2. After walking Elise Freeland, one run scored on an error with Missy Lee at the plate. Abby Curnutte poked a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Freeland. With one out and the potential tying run at the plate, Secaras fanned Zang on three pitches then got Rachel Black to ground out, ending the game.
Herold got the win and improved to 6-3 while Zang dropped to 3-6. Herold allowed six hits and two earned runs with nine strikeouts. She was also 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Secaras was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and Howell finished the day 1-for-2 with four RBIs and one run scored.
In the nightcap, the game was scoreless until the sixth when Wittenberg's Lee reached on an error to start the inning off Denison starter Colleen Hoffman. A double by Curnutte scored Lee, giving Wittenberg a 1-0 lead. Secaras took over for Hoffman and Wittenberg's pinch runner, Elaina Adams advanced to third on a wild pitch. Secaras battled back, retiring the next two batters, but a two-out single by Alex Gibson scored Lee with the second run of the game.
Denison made things interesting in the bottom of the seventh. Clemson led off with a base hit to left. Brennah Dutcher reached base on an error by the shortstop. With runners on first and second and one out, Emilie Fisher fouled out to the third baseman. Herold followed with an infield hit to the shortstop in which she beat out Lee's throw. With Clemson trying to score on the play, Lee made a throw to the plate but Clemson was called safe. Black made the quick decision to fire a throw to third where Hoffman, who was pinch running for Dutcher, was caught in a run-down for the final out of the game.
The Tigers escaped with the 2-1 victory behind a complete game effort from Abby Haab. She scattered six hits and did not allow an earned run while striking out six.
Hoffman took the hard-luck loss for Denison. She pitched five innings surrendering only two hits and zero earned runs. Clemson led DU at the plate in game two, going 2-for-3 with a run scored.
Denison moves to 12-6 overall and 6-2 in the NCAC while Wittenberg's record moves to 11-15 and 3-1 in conference play.