Denison takes two from Defiance
The Denison University softball team recorded 25 hits, including 10 extra base hits, in a doubleheader sweep of the Defiance College Yellow Jackets on Tuesday from Sal Hench Field in Defiance, Ohio. The Big Red won the opener 8-7 in 10 innings, and posted a 10-5 victory in the nightcap.
In game one, Denison erased a 2-1 deficit and took their first lead of the game in the third inning on a two-run single by senior Brie Berkopec (Mars, Pa./Mars Senior). Berkopec's base hit scored fellow senior Emily Croll (Oak Harbor, Ohio/Oak Harbor) and sophomore Kait Fiore (Millburn, N.J./Millburn).
Defiance regained a 4-3 lead thanks to two tallies in the bottom of the fourth inning. After two scoreless frames, the Big Red tied the game in the seventh with a one-out home run by senior Molly Sack (Toledo, Ohio/Sylvania Southview). The homer was her second of the season and forced the contest into extra innings.
After both teams failed to score in the eighth, DU went up 5-4 in the ninth when a Yellow Jacket error allowed sophomore Hannah Price (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson) to score from third. With two on and two outs, a double by junior Erica Evans (Worthington, Ohio/Thomas Worthington) drove in Sack and Fiore to give the Big Red a 7-4 edge.
Defiance responded in their half of the ninth with a trio of runs. Tasha Stucke hit a double to left field that scored Katelyn Samples to trim the deficit to 7-5, while a base hit by Marah Robinson resulted in two more runs for the Jackets.
In the tenth inning, first-year Jessica Robertson (Mt. Gilead, Ohio/Mt. Gilead) dropped a one-out sacrifice bunt to move Berkpec from second to third. The senior came around to score when a throwing error allowed Price to reach base safely.
With two down and the game-tying run on third, Samples and Stucke both drew base-on-balls to load the bases for the home team. Senior Leslie Brenner (Deerfield, Ill./Deerfield) completed her 10-inning performance by getting Aubrie Ridinger to ground out to the pitcher for the final out of the game.
Brenner surrendered seven runs, only two earned, on nine hits with two strikeouts en route to her ninth win of the season.
Denison jumped out to an early lead in game two thanks to a three-run second frame. Price knocked in the first run of the game on a sac fly to left field. Sophomore Sophia Iglesias (McLean, Va./McLean) and Robertson also scored in the inning on a double to right center by Sack. Berkopec added another run in the third when she went yard for the 21st time in her career. DU added two more in the top of the fifth on a double by Fiore and triple by Croll to extend their lead to 6-0.
The Yellow Jackets shrunk the margin to 6-4 with a four-run bottom of the fifth that was highlighted by a two-run bomb by Mallory Faling. The two squads each posted a run in the sixth to make it a 7-5 game heading into the final inning. A lead-off home run by Evans sparked a three-run seventh that secured the Denison victory. Base hits to left field by senior Alex Murray (Mayfield Heights, Ohio/NDCL) and Sack accounted for the other two Big Red runs in the inning.
Freshman Nikki McCoy (Ney, Ohio/Fairview) improved to 6-2 on the year after allowing four runs (none earned) and scattering seven hits in 4.2 innings. Robertson, making her first collegiate appearances inside the circle, gave up one run on two hits in 2.1 relief innings.
On the day, the DU offense was paced by Berkopec, Evans and Sack. Berkopec went a combined 6-for-9 with a homer, two doubles, five runs scored and three RBIs, while Evans posted five hits, including a double and a home run, with three RBIs and a run scored. Sack logged four hits with a double, a home run, five RBIs and three runs.
Denison improves to 17-11 on the year, while Defiance falls to 14-12 overall. The Big Red returns to the field on Saturday (April 17) when they host Oberlin College. Game one of the North Coast Athletic Conference doubleheader is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.