INDIANAPOLIS - The Marian University softball team split a key Mid-Central College Conference doubleheader with Indiana Wesleyan at Marian University Softball Field on Thursday afternoon. The Knights defeated IWU by a 7-3 score in game one, but dropped a 10-9 decision in the nightcap despite a massive comeback effort.
The Knights fell to 26-9 on the season and are now 6-4 in the MCC, while IWU improved to 37-10 and 14-4 in the MCC.
MU jumped in front early in the opener when junior Emily Gwaltney
hit an RBI-single in the bottom of the first to give the Knights a 1-0 lead. They added two more when sophomore Michelle Marcum
hit a two-run double to give Gwaltney, who was pitching, a 3-0 lead after three innings.
IWU scored one in the top of the fourth on an error to make it 3-1, but the Knights were able to blow the game open in the bottom of the fifth.
Freshman Chelsey Hartman
hit a two-run single before freshman Becca Twining
drove in the inning's final run on an RBI-single to make it 6-1 after five complete innings. They added one more in the sixth on an RBI-double by Gwaltney to make it 7-1.
The Wildcats did not go down without a fight as they scored a pair in the top of the seventh with one out, but Gwaltney was able to induce a popup and a strikeout to pick up the 7-3 victory.
She threw her 12th complete game of the season as she improved to 13-3 on the year. She allowed one earned run on seven hits and struck out four to earn her 46th career victory and her 45th complete game. She is now five wins from tying the career pitching victories record.
Gwaltney also led the way on offense after she went 3-for-3 with two RBIs. Marcum had a hit and drove in a pair, while junior Helen Rogers
went 3-for-4 with a run scored. Senior Kelsey Uebelhor
finished 2-for-3 with a run scored and Hartman finished with a hit and two RBIs.
The nightcap saw the Wildcats jump all over the Knights with a four-run first inning and another run in the second to take a 5-0 lead. Senior Abbie Forman cruised through the MU lineup allowing just one hit through four innings.
The Wildcats added three more in the top of the fifth to take an 8-0 lead and put the Knights on the brink of a mercy rule defeat at home. However, the Knights did the unthinkable in the bottom half.
The Knights posted seven runs to stave off the mercy rule and make it a one-run ballgame.
Uebelhor opened the scoring with an RBI-single before Rogers hit a three-run double to cut it to 8-4. Senior Jillian Ayres
roped a two-run double to make it 8-6 before Hartman hit an RBI-single to make it a one-run game.
After sending IWU down in order in the top of the sixth, Gwaltney and Rogers hit back-to-back two-out singles to start another rally. Marcum came through with an RBI-single to tie the game at 8-8. At this point, the game takes a decided turn. With two outs and Gwaltney on third, Ayres hits a line drive down the third base line. The ball hit Gwaltney in foul territory, but the umpire called her out for interference to end the threat. But, the Knights had completed an improbable comeback from 8-0 down to tie the score.
The Wildcats finally broke through on freshman Shelbie Jones
in the top of the seventh as they scored the lead run and got the subsequent game-winning run off Gwaltney, who had come in to relieve Jones, to take a 10-8 lead.
Junior Kristen Tragesser
hit an RBI-sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh to make it 10-9, but back-to-back strikeouts ended the rally and sent IWU to the 10-9 win.
Gwaltney fell to 13-4 on the year after she allowed the winning run in one inning of work. Jones threw four strong innings of relief and struck out five, while junior Amy Tamer
lasted just two innings and gave up three earned runs.
Rogers led the way after she went 3-for-5 with three RBIs, while Ayres had a hit and drove in a pair. Uebelhor and Gwaltney each added two hits, while Hartman finished 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored.
The Knights will remain at home on Saturday when they take on Spring Arbor University at MU Softball Field. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m. and the doubleheader can be heard LIVE
on the Knights Athletics Network at www.muknights.com