WESTERVILLE, Ohio - Three runs in the seventh inning of game two helped Denison softball play to a doubleheader split at Otterbein University on Thursday afternoon in Westerville. The Big Red earned a 3-0 victory in the second game after falling to the Cardinals, 4-2, in game one.
Looking for redemption after falling in game one, the Big Red went to senior Colleen Hoffman in the pitching circle to keep the Cardinal hitters at bay. Doing just that, Hoffman earned her second complete-game shutout of the season after keeping Otterbein scoreless through seven innings on five hits and one strikeout.
Opposed by Otterbein's Anna Edwards, Hoffman and Edwards took control of the game and kept both sides scoreless through the first six innings of action.
In the top of the seventh, freshman Claire Powell opened the inning with a bunt single to put a runner on first. After a sacrifice bunt from Emilie Fisher sent Powell to second, junior Lindsey Clemson scored Powell with a single down the right-field line to break the shutout and put Denison in front, 1-0.
Two batters later, junior Brennah Dutcher tallied an RBI single up the middle to bring home Clemson and increase DU's lead to 2-0. Amanda Howell followed with an RBI double to right center to score Dutcher and give the Big Red a 3-0 lead entering the bottom of the seventh.
Hoffman collected three-straight outs to secure her fifth win of the season and dropped her ERA to 2.55 on the year. Edwards was tagged with the loss after allowing three runs on 11 hits in 6.2 innings pitched.
Clemson led Denison in game two with a 2-for-4 performance while totalling an RBI and a run scored. Howell and Powell each went 2-for-3 with Howell collecting an RBI and Powell posting a run scored. Ricki Asher also tallied a pair of hits for DU.
In the opening game of the series, Denison took the first lead of the day in the top of the first after Fisher led off the inning with a walk. Following a pair of Big Red outs and a passed ball by Otterbein's Alyson McAdams, the Big Red had runners at first and third with two outs.
In the next at-bat, Dutcher came through with an RBI single that scored Fisher from third to give Denison a 1-0 advantage.
After DU starter Taryn Welch sat down six of the first eight batters in the game, the Big Red added to their lead in the top of the third when senior Laura Bagan doubled to left center and scored Clemson to take a 2-0 lead.
Leading 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth, Denison forced the Cardinals into back-to-back foul outs for two quick outs in the inning. After Miranda Fearigo walked and Savannah McCoppin landed a bunt single, Otterbein had runners at the corners when Maria Herron connected on a two-run double to right center to give OU a 3-2 lead. Alyson Shaw added an RBI single in the next at-bat to put Denison behind, 4-2.
The Cardinals closed out the game in the seventh as the Big Red suffered their ninth loss of the season.
Otterbein's Gabby Johnson earned the win after allowing two runs on two hits with six strikeouts in seven innings of work. Welch took the loss as she dropped to 5-4 on the season with four runs allowed and two strikeouts through six innings in the circle.
McCoppin finished 3-for-3 in game one with two runs scored while Herron added two RBIs on two hits. Bagan and Dutcher each added a hit and a run driven in for DU. The series split sent Denison to 11-9 on the season while Otterbein moved to 16-12.
The Big Red will return to North Coast Athletic Conference play on Saturday, April 13 when they host the College of Wooster for a doubleheader set to begin at 1 p.m.