Claremont, Calif. - Playing a nationally ranked opponent for the second straight day, Denison softball played to a doubleheader split with 12th ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Tuesday afternoon, taking the first game 5-1 before falling in game two, 10-5, at the CMS Softball Field in Claremont, Calif.
Opening the series with a victory over the nationally ranked Athenas, the Big Red complimented their offensive attack with a solid pitching performance from senior starter Colleen Hoffman.
Allowing one hit and recording four strikeouts through the first four innings of action, Hoffman's consistency in the circle put Denison in a position to take the early lead.
In the top of the second, a two-out single from sophomore Gabi Dufresne kept the inning alive for DU. In the next at-bat, senior Marrae Saucedo launched a double to center field, scoring Dufresne to take the early 1-0 lead.
The Big Red added two more runs in the fourth after senior Amanda Howell began the inning with a double to right center. Two batters later with two outs and Howell on third, Dufresne scored Howell with an RBI single to center.
A pair of fielding errors followed for CMS, allowing Dufresne to score and give Denison a 3-0 advantage after four innings of action.
Leading 4-0 after an RBI single from Brennah Dutcher in the top of the fifth, the Athenas answered in the home half of the inning with runners on second and third with one out. In the next at-bat, Kylie Hetzel lifted a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Lauren Richards from third to cut their deficit to three, 4-1.
After Taryn Welch relieved Hoffman in the sixth and tallied three-straight outs, Dutcher connected on her second RBI single of the game in the seventh, driving home Emilie Fisher to build a 5-1 advantage. Three more outs followed for Welch as the Big Red secured their second-straight victory of the spring.
Hoffman earned her first win of the season after allowing one run on four hits and collecting four strikeouts in five innings of action. Welch earned the save with two strikeouts over two innings of scoreless action. Richards was tabbed with her first loss of the season after totaling four runs on seven hits in 4.1 innings of work.
Dutcher led the Big Red with two RBIs in a 2-for-4 performance. Dufresne went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a run driven in, while Lindsey Clemson finished with two hits.
In game two, Denison battled back from an early 6-0 deficit in the fourth when Fisher stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded and ripped a three-run double to left center, clearing the bases and cutting DU's deficit to 6-3.
After Welch sat down the Athenas in order in the bottom of the fourth, the Big Red continued to chip away in the fifth when Dufresne scored Clemson on a sacrifice fly to center, bringing DU back within two, 6-4, entering the bottom of the fifth.
CMS totaled four runs on six hits over the next two innings, and despite an RBI single from Bagan to score Emily DeSheles in the seventh, the Big Red suffered their second loss of the season to move to 2-2 overall. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps improved to 15-4 with the win.
Fisher led DU with three RBIs in a 1-for-3 effort. Clemson went 2-for-4 with one run scored and Howell tallied two hits at the plate.
The Athenas were highlighted by Megan Perron's 3-for-4 performance with three RBIs and three runs scored. Molly Spaniac also scored three runs while Richards drove in three.
Denison will continue their spring break trip on Wednesday, March 19 when they travel to Whittier College for a doubleheader with the Poets. First-pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. EDT.