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Softball Earns Series Split Versus Ohio Northern

Photo by Randy Sarvis
Photo by Randy Sarvis

WILMINGTON, Ohio – The Wilmington College softball team split an Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) doubleheader with Ohio Northern University (ONU) on Thursday, winning game one 4-2 and falling in game two 7-2.
The win marked the first victory for the Fightin' Quakers over the Polar Bears since April 18, 2013 and just the third win over ONU in the last decade.

"Ohio Northern is a very solid team that is well-rounded," Head Softball Coach Beth Floyd said. "They have good pitching, hit the ball and play solid defense. Anytime you can get a victory over them it means you played a great game to do so."

Wilmington pounced for three runs on three hits in the first inning including an RBI-groundout from Jillia Cook and a two-RBI single from Mariyah Burkhardt. The Quakers nearly broke the game wide open by loading the bases with one out in the second, but a flyout and pop out ended the threat.

ONU got on the board in the third after a lead-off single stole second base, got to third via a sacrifice bunt and scored on a sacrifice fly to straight-away center field. Leading 3-1, the Quakers extended their lead back to three runs as a Cook single in the fifth scored Micalah Hensley making the score 4-1.

The Polar gets got the tying run to the plate in the top of the seventh, but Wilmington starter Grace Shell earned her first collegiate OAC victory with a flyout to right field for the third out of the inning.

Shell improved to 4-3 with the complete-game win, allowing five hits with five strikeouts and four walks. Kaitlin Surdej took just her third loss of the season for ONU allowing four earned runs on seven hits in six innings pitched.

"The big key for us in game one was putting three runs on the board in the first inning," Floyd said. "Grace [Shell] pitched well the whole game and we played great defense behind her."

Seven different Quakers had a single hit in the game while five different Polar Bears recorded a base hit. All dozen hits were singles.

ONU's Kirsten Lightel stole the show in game two as she allowed just two earned runs and recorded 10 strikeouts. The Polar Bear offense scored in each of the first four innings including a three-run second to lead 6-0 after four complete.

Despite behind down 7-0, the Quakers did not quit, scoring a run in the sixth and another in the seventh. The rally appeared to continue with an Allison Pierce single, but the second run that crossed the plate was called out due to interference.

Alecia Kemp and Kaylee Barber each had two hits for Wilmington in game two. Jenna Hollar, ONU's lead-off hitter, finished 3-for-3 with two runs scored.

Wilmington (8-8, 1-3 OAC) hosts Baldwin Wallace University on Saturday. First pitched is scheduled for 1 p.m.