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Otterbein Walks Off For Twinbill Victory Over Softball

Photo by Randy Sarvis
Photo by Randy Sarvis

WESTERVILLE, Ohio – The Wilmington College softball team concluded non-conference play for the 2021 regular season with a pair of defeats at Otterbein University on Sunday. The Cardinals took game one 7-3 and ended the series with a walk-off in a 9-8 triumph in the nightcap.

In game one, the Fightin' Quakers nearly opened the scoring in the top of the second as Andrea Edmisten got ahold of a pitch with runners at the corners. Unfortunately for Wilmington, the shot went straight to shortstop to end the inning. In the bottom of the third, the Cardinals sent all nine to the plate, resulting in six runs scored on two home runs, the later being a grand slam.

Trailing 6-0, Wilmington got the bases loaded thanks to a walk and singles from Lindsey Carter and Alecia Kemp. The Quakers couldn't, however, deliver a hit as the lone run scored was via a hit by pitch. Otterbein got that run back in the bottom of the frame to maintain a six-run lead. In the seventh, Hayley Suchland led off with a solo home run and Kemp singled home Carter, but a flyout to center field ended the game.

Jess Gunter earned the win for Otterbein, scattering 10 hits and three earned runs over the full seven innings with seven strikeouts. Wilmington used three pitchers – Carter, Hillary Huffer and Kiley Lowe – all of which pitched at least an inning and gave up at least one run.

Kemp finished 3-for-3 with an RBI and a walk while Carter, the starting pitcher who took the loss, helped her cause with a 2-for-3 performance and two runs scored.

Seven of Otterbein's nine starters had hits including two from Sage Jenkins and two from Isabelle Fisher. Macy Allen hit the Cardinals' grand slam.

In the nightcap, both offenses didn't waste time scoring as Wilmington sent eight to the plate in the first and plated four runs thanks to consecutive two-RBI hits from Carter and Lizz Hadley. Otterbein answered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the inning, but Arianna Layne got two of them back with her third home run of the season in the second.

Trailing 6-3, Otterbein got a single run back in the bottom of the second and after holding the Quakers scoreless in the third, again utilized the long ball as Katrina Wierzbicki hit a three-run shot. Another Suchland solo home run tied the game 7-7 in the fourth, and after both teams plated a single run in the fifth, Otterbein looked to break the deadlock by getting runners to second and third with no outs in the sixth.

The Cardinals were denied, however, as Suchland struck out two batters and fielded a grounder for the other out. In the top of the seventh, it was the Quakers' turn to threaten to score as Kemp stood at third with two outs. A pop out to second base ended the threat, however,

In the bottom of the seventh, Otterbein once against got its first two runners on, and after a sacrifice bunt, a sacrifice fly from Jenkins to left field was deep enough to score the game-winning run.

Suchland took the loss in relief, tallying five strikeouts while scattering five hits in 4.1 innings pitched. Sydney Harville, the Quakers' starter, recorded one out before being relieved by Alexis Stringfellow, who bridged the two-inning gap to Suchland. Fisher earned the win for Otterbein, pitching 3.2 innings in relief of Brook Crosby.

Wilmington tallied 11 hits as a team including another 4-for-4 performance with a home run and three RBIs from Carter. Arianna Layne finished 2-of-4 with that home run while Suchland also had two hits, one of which was a home run, and scored three runs.

Wierzbicki did the damage for the Cardinals, tallying a 3-for-4 performance with four RBIs and three runs scored.

Wilmington (1-3) will begin Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) play against Heidelberg University next weekend.