GRANVILLE, Ohio – Behind a pair of strong pitching performances from Taryn Welch and Colleen Hoffman, Denison softball secured a doubleheader sweep of Marietta College on Thursday afternoon in Granville, shutting out the Pioneers in game one, 3-0, before earning a 3-1 victory in game two.
The Big Red opened the series with a dominant performance in the pitching circle from Welch. Throwing the first complete game shutout of her career, Welch scattered four hits over seven innings of work with two walks and tied a career high with seven strikeouts.
After Welch left a pair of runners on in the top of the first, the Big Red bats came through for the junior in the home half of the inning when Claire Powell connected on a one-out double to right centerfield that put a runner on second.
In the next at-bat, Lindsey Clemson reached first on a throwing error by the Marietta shortstop, allowing Powell to advance to third to put runners on first and third with one out.
With Amanda Howell at the plate and MC's Jackie Mulvain in the circle, the Big Red went for the double steal and succeeded with Clemson taking second and Powell crossing home plate to give DU an early 1-0 lead after one inning of play.
Following back-to-back swinging strikeouts from Welch in the top of the second, Denison went back to work in the bottom of the inning after freshman Caitlin Ellwanger jumpstarted the inning with a single through the right side.
Over the next five innings of action, Welch allowed only three hits and tallied five strikeouts to help the Big Red record their first shutout of the season. With the win, Welch improved to 3-1 on the season while Mulvain dropped to 3-4.
Powell and Kline led DU with two hits each while Kline also posted a pair of RBIs.
While Welch took charge in game one, Denison's pitching dominance continued in game two with Hoffman and Marietta's Maddi Liston taking control from the circle. Through the first three innings of action, Hoffman and Liston combined to allow one hit with three strikeouts.
After Hoffman retired three of four batters in the top of the fourth, the Big Red led off the home half of the inning with a bang after junior Emilie Fisher launched a home run over the leftfield wall to give Denison a 1-0 advantage.
Following a bunt single from Powell and consecutive outs from the Big Red, Laura Bagan increased the lead with an RBI single up the middle to score Powell and increase DU's lead to 2-0.
With Bagan on third and Hoffman at the plate, a wild pitch from Liston scored Bagan and gave Denison a 3-0 lead through four innings.
The Big Red carried a 3-1 lead into the top of the seventh but allowed two of the first three batters on to put runners at first and second with one out.
Hoffman was relieved by Sarah Hamre before the next at-bat, but the Pioneers continued to put the pressure on with a single from Maicy Kirk to load the bases with one out.
In the next at-bat, Taylor Watts was forced out at home on the throw from Howell, allowing the bases to stay loaded with two outs. After reaching on a fielder's choice on the second out, Britnee Kail was thrown out at second by Fisher on the next play to end the game and to send the Big Red to 6-4 on the season. Marietta fell to 11-9 in 2019.
Hoffman earned her second victory of the season (2-2) after totaling four strikeouts through 6.1 innings of work. The loss went to Liston who allowed one earned run in four innings pitched. The save went to Hamre for her first of the season.
Fisher and Powell each finished the game 1-for-3 with a run scored. Bagan went 1-for-2 with a run scored and an RBI.
Liston led Marietta with a 1-for-2 showing at the plate with a home run. Kayla Alderson finished 2-for-4.
Denison will hit the road this Sunday, March 31 when they travel to Crestview Hills, Ky. to take on Thomas More University at 1 & 3 p.m.