GREENCASTLE, Ind. – Lindsey Clemson's solo home run in the top of the ninth sent Denison to a 4-3 win over Wooster in the opening game of the 2019 North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament. In the winner's bracket game versus top-seeded DePauw, the Big Red suffered a 1-0 loss, setting up a Saturday rematch with Wooster.
In a series that started with a doubleheader split back in Granville on April 13, the rubber match featured two of the top pitchers in the conference with Denison's Taryn Welch and Wooster's Olivia Johnson.
After both pitchers combined to throw a scoreless first inning, Denison's Amanda Howell opened the top of the second with a five-pitch walk. Two batters later, a single through the left side from Emilie Fisher put runners at first and third with one out.
With Ricki Asher at the plate and two outs in the inning, a passed ball from Wooster's Grace Randall allowed Howell to score from third and take the first lead of the game, 1-0. Asher finished the at-bat with an RBI single to right field that gave the Big Red a 2-0 advantage in the second.
Over the next four innings of play, Welch and Johnson kept both sides at bay, allowing a combined four hits and totaled five strikeouts entering the seventh inning.
In the bottom of the seventh with one out, the Fighting Scots evened the game at 2-2 when Morgan Bailey connected on a two-run double to right center that sent the game to extra innings.
The Big Red retook the lead in the top of the eighth when Marrae Saucedo scored Brennah Dutcher on an RBI single, but Wooster responded in the home half of the inning with another RBI from Randall on a sacrifice fly to center. Both sides entered the ninth tied at 3-3.
With two outs in the top of the ninth, Clemson ripped a solo home run over the left centerfield wall to put the Big Red in front, 4-3. After relieving Welch in the eighth, senior Colleen Hoffman secured the final three outs of the game to continue Denison's journey through the winner's bracket.
Hoffman earned the victory with one strikeout and a run allowed in two innings of action. Welch worked seven innings of two-run softball on six hits with a strikeout. Wooster's Johnson earned the loss with four runs on seven hits in nine total innings.
Against DePauw, the Tigers turned to ace pitcher Cami Henry for the second-straight game and she showed little signs of fatigue in a complete game four-hit, five strikeout performance against the Big Red.
The lone run was scored in the fourth inning when Sydney Holler's RBI ground out to second scored Kayln Linder from third base. Hoffman got the start for the Big Red in game two and matched Henry with a four-hitter over six innings. Henry improved to 16-6 while Hoffman dropped to 11-5.
Saturday's elimination game versus Wooster will start at 11 a.m. on Saturday in Greencastle, Indiana.