WC softball sweeps pair from Otterbein

WILMINGTON, Ohio – The Wilmington College softball team took both games of an Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) twinbill with Otterbein University, winning game one 5-4 with a walk-off in the eighth inning and 5-0 in the nightcap on Saturday. The doubleheader sweep marks the first for the Fightin’ Quakers over the Cardinals in more than a decade.

In game one, Otterbein wasted no time getting its offense started as the Cardinals scored three runs on four hits in the top of the first inning. Three of those hits came of the opposite field variety, but all found space. Trailing 3-0, starting pitcher Hayley Suchland helped her own cause, launching a two-run home run to left field after Megan Crager worked a full count and reached base via a hit by pitch.

Both starting pitchers – Suchland and Brook Crosby – settled in afterward as neither team scored for two innings. Otterbein bucked that trend in the fourth inning, however, executing a sacrifice bunt after a lead-off walk. Katrina Wierzbicki doubled to left center, doubling the visitors’ lead.

Trailing 4-2, Wilmington rallied in the bottom of the sixth. The Quakers loaded the bases, thanks to singles from Suchland and Ari Layne as well as an error. Otterbein Head Coach Brooke Donovan changed pitchers, but that lasted exactly one batter as Isabelle Fisher walked Lindsey Carter with the bases loaded. Crosby came back in, but surrendered a game-tying sacrifice fly to Alecia Kemp.

Both teams got runners in scoring position with less than two outs in the top of the seventh, but neither could deliver an RBI-hit. History repeated itself for Otterbein in the top of the eighth as a groundout to third base. Wilmington started off its bottom of the eighth with a walk, drawn by Layne. Hadley advanced Layne to second, and Carter hit a walk-off to left field.

Suchland earned the complete-game victory, striking out four and scattering seven hits in eight innings. Crosby took her fourth loss of the year despite the quality start of three earned runs in 7.1 innings pitched.

Carter and Suchland both had two hits and two RBIs for Wilmington with Suchland’s two coming off that home run. Arianna Layne scored two runs while Crager scored a single run and hit a double. Katrina Wierzbicki finished 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored for Otterbein.

In game two, Otterbein loaded the bases with three infield hits in the second, but coincidentally, the first ball to leave the infield ended the threat as Hannah Lewis flew out to center field. Wilmington opened the scoring in the bottom of the third as Lizz Hadley slapped a single through the middle that scored Crager. Another 1-2-3 inning for the Quakers’ defense in the top of the fourth setup the offense to break the game open in the bottom half of the inning.

The inning began with singles from Carter and Kemp, and after a strikeout, Andrea Edmisten was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Crager hit a ball up the middle, but Wierzbicki, playing shortstop, got her glove on the ball and deflected it towards second base. One run scored, and Crager, who would have beaten out the errant throw, advanced second on a throwing error. Carter also scored on that same error, giving Wilmington a 4-0 lead.

The Quakers would add an insurance run in the fifth as McKenna Archey singled home Amy Emswiler for the final run of the game.

Starter Alexis Stringfellow earned the shutout victory, scattering five hits over seven innings with two strikeouts and no walks. Jess Gunter took the loss allowing four earned runs on 10 hits in five innings.

Offensively, Suchland, Kylah Morrison and Carter all had two hits with Suchland also stealing a base. Macy Allen led Otterbein in defeat with a 2-for-3 performance.