SPRINGFIELD, Ohio— Denison suffered a 5-4 loss to DePauw in 10 innings to open the 2018 North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament at Wittenberg University. With the loss, Denison will face Allegheny College in an elimination game on Saturday, May 5 at 10 a.m. in Springfield.
DePauw jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first via RBI singles by Jordyn Fera and Sidney Holler. The Tigers added a third run in the second inning off a Liz Getz sacrifice fly that scored Alyssa Nowak from third.
In the bottom of the second, Denison loaded the bases with no outs and Ricki Asher delivered a two-run single to right field that scored Mckinly Vazquez and Laura Bagan. Denison loaded the bases again with one out but a chopper to third by Sarah Herold resulted in Lindsay Clemson being thrown out at the plate. With Denison's top hitter at the plate in Lauren Secaras, DePauw went to the bullpen in favor of ace Jamie Baldwin. She quickly uncorked a wild pitch that scored Asher from third, tying the game at three. Baldwin did manage to work out of the jam by striking out Secaras to end the inning.
Herold was in the circle for the Big Red and she worked a quick third inning, retiring the Tigers in order. In the fourth, Becca St. Germain led off with a double to left. Two batters later, Megan Mongomery's fly ball to right scored the pinch runner, Mina Shaw, with the go-ahead run.
The game remained 4-3 in favor of the Tigers heading to the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Emillie Fisher stroked a double to left. After Baldwin got Herold to pop up to second base, Secaras delivered the game-tying hit with a single up the middle, scoring Fisher. Amanda Howell gave one a ride but her fly ball was retired in center field, forcing extra-innings.
Neither team got a runner past second base in the eighth and ninth innings, but in the 10th, the international tiebreaker rule was initiated, placing a runner on second base to start the frame.
For DePauw, Kaylyn Linder started the inning at second base and Kathleen Byers dropped a sacrifice bunt down the third base line. Denison's Fisher covered the bunt, but her throw went just over the head of first baseman Secaras, which allowed Linder to score the go-ahead run. Herold, who was in her 10th inning of work for the Big Red, grinded her way through the remainder of the inning as she got the first out on a sacrifice bunt, the second on a fielder's choice back to the box where she quickly fed an underhand toss to Clemson who made the tag at home. The third out was recorded on a fly ball to center by St. Germain.
Denison threatened in the 10th. A leadoff walk by Amanda Howell put runners on first and second but a fielder's choice by Laura Bagan allowed the Tigers to get the lead runner at third for the first out. The second out came via a pickoff throw from the catcher to first base and Baldwin managed to get a strikeout to end the game in the 10th.
Baldwin pitched 8.1 innings and improved to 9-8. She scattered six hits and allowed one run while striking out seven. Herold gave up two earned runs on nine hits in 10.0 innings pitched. She struck out four and walked only one.
Bagan, Fisher, and Clemson all had two-hit games for Denison. By suffering the loss in the opener, Denison will need to win four-straight games to be crowned the NCAC Tournament champion. That quest will start on Saturday at 10 a.m. versus the Gators.