GRANVILLE, Ohio – Thanks to a four-run fifth in game two, Denison softball earned a doubleheader split with Mount St. Joseph University on Thursday evening in Granville, falling in game one 6-5, but rebounded in the second game with an 8-6 win.
In the second game, junior Colleen Hoffman earned the start as she looked to get the Big Red in the win column. In 4.1 innings of action, Hoffman allowed six runs on six hits and totaled four strikeouts as DU trailed 4-0 in the middle of the third.
Denison supplied Hoffman with run support in the home half of the inning when senior Lauren Secaras doubled up the middle to score Sarah Herold and tallied the RBI. Secaras is now tied for the career lead in RBI's with Erica Evans (2008-2011) as her RBI double put her at 121 runs batted in for her career. Laura Bagan also notched an RBI double in the bottom of the third as DU cut their deficit to 4-2 entering the fourth.
Following an RBI single from Emilie Fisher in the bottom of the fourth, the Lions responded in the fifth when Gracie Woodyard launched a triple to center and plated two more runs for MSJ, increasing their lead to 6-3.
Trailing by three runs in the bottom of the fifth, the Big Red bats caught fire as Mckinly Vazquez drove home Amanda Howell on a single to right, and with runners on the corners with one out, Lindsey Clemson reached safely on a fielder's choice to score Bagan.
In the next at-bat, freshman Gabi Dufresne earned her first career hit in style as she roped a double to left center that scored Clemson and Vazquez to give DU their first lead of the game, 7-6. The next play offered insurance for the Big Red as Brennah Dutcher reached on a fielding error by Savannah Sturgill at first, allowing Dufresne to score from second and increase the Denison lead to 8-6.
After working out of a jam in the sixth, Secaras earned the win in the seventh to improve her season mark to 3-1 in the circle.
Dufresne recorded the biggest day on a 1-for-3 performance with two runs scored, two RBI's and the game-winning hit. Herold, Secaras, Bagan, and Vazquez all finished the game 2-for-4, combining for three RBI's.
In game one, the fortune looked bright for Herold in the circle as the Big Red offense ignited from the beginning to give her an early lead. Herold helped her case in the bottom of the first when her double up the middle allowed Fisher to score, giving DU a 1-0 advantage. An RBI triple from Howell and a run-scoring single from Vazquez followed in the inning to give Denison a 3-0 lead after the first.
Leading 3-1 in the top of the fifth, Secaras entered the circle in relief of Herold. After Sturgill cut the MSJ deficit to 3-2 in fifth with an RBI single, Alehia Tucker reached on an error in the sixth to score a run from third and tied the game at 3-3. Back-to-back RBI singles from MaKayla Hanes and Hayley Hudson solidified the comeback and put the Lions in front, 6-3, entering the final half inning.
With runners at first and third and one out, Vazquez brought life back to the Big Red with a double down the left field line that scored Dufresne and Maddie Crull to trail by one run, 6-5. The rally ended abruptly when Mount St. Joseph's Sarah Miller recorded swinging strikeouts for the final two outs to give the Lions the victory.
Vazquez led the Denison attack in game one with three RBI's in a 3-for-4 performance for the game. Fisher also went 3-for-4 as she scored a run. The split sends the Big Red to 13-7 overall, while MSJ moves to 15-9 on the season.
DU will head back to work on Friday, April 13 as they travel to the College of Wooster for an NCAC doubleheader set to begin at 3:30 p.m.