CLAREMONT, Calif. - Opening the 2019 campaign with a spring break trip to southern California, Dension softball started the season off with a doubleheader split at No. 14 Pomona-Pitzer on Monday afternoon, defeating the Sagehens 9-3 in game two after falling in game one, 9-5.
Starting both games for the Big Red in the pitching circle was junior Taryn Welch. After missing all of 2018 with an injury, Welch found her comfort zone in game two, allowing only one hit through the first four innings of play.
Before stepping in the circle in the bottom of the first, Welch entered the inning with a 3-0 advantage after an RBI single from Amanda Howell sparked a three-run frame for DU.
After Welch and Pomona-Pitzer's Liz Rodarte combined to allow one hit and record three strikeouts over the next three innings of action, the Sagehens cut their deficit in the fifth when Izzy Deatherage tallied a two-out, two-RBI double to make it a 3-2 game entering the sixth inning.
Leading by one in the sixth, Denison's offense returned to form after Howell reached first on an error to start the inning. Two batters later, Laura Bagan scored the runner on an RBI single to left to put the Big Red ahead by two, 4-2. After Gabi Defresne reached on DU's second-straight single, Marrae Saucedo drove home Bagan on their third-consecutive hit of the game.
With two outs in the inning, freshman Claire Powell added to the lead when she ripped a two-RBI single up the middle, scoring Saucedo and Dufresne to put the Big Red in front, 7-2.
After five innings of work, Welch was relieved by senior Colleen Hoffman who secured the win for Denison, allowing one run on four hits to end the game. Welch recorded her first win of the season after finishing with one strikeout over five innings and allowing two runs and two walks.
At the plate, Bagan led DU with three runs driven on three hits. Powell went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, while Brennah Dutcher finished with two runs scored.
In game one, Denison jumped on the opposition early after Powell opened her collegiate career with a solo home run over the right field wall to give the Big Red a 1-0 advantage. Three batters later, Howell totaled her first RBI single of the season when Emilie Fisher crossed home plate and built the DU lead to 2-0.
After Rodarte and Hong tallied a pair of RBI singles in the third to help the Sagehens take a 3-2 lead, the Big Red rebounded in the fifth when Dutcher connected on a single to center, scoring Lindsey Clemson to tie the game at 3-3.
Six runs in the sixth from Pomona-Pitzer put the Sagehens back in front, 9-3, and despite a two-run home run from Dutcher in the seventh, DU's rally fell short with a 9-5 loss in the season opener.
The win went to Pomona-Pitzer's Julia Carreon who finished with one strikeout and two earned runs in 2.1 innings of relief work. The loss went to Hoffman after allowing six unearned runs in two innings out of the bullpen.
The Sagehens were led by multi-RBI performances from Rodarte, Kristen Hong, and Karina Falkstrom.
Clemson highlighted DU with a 4-for-4 performance and one run scored. Dutcher finished with three runs batted in and one run scored.
The Big Red will return to Claremont, Calif. on Tuesday, March 19 when they take on the No. 12 Athenas of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.