WHITTIER, Calif. -- Junior Lauren Secaras crushed two home runs in game one, while sophomore Laura Bagan went 4-for-4 at the plate in game two on Tuesday. Those two performances helped the Denison softball team pull off a doubleheader sweep at Whittier. The Big Red rallied in both games, winning the first 11-9 in eight innings before taking the second by a score of 11-8.
In a back-and-forth opener, Whittier's Natalia Sanchez hit a one-out home run in the bottom of the seventh to knot the game at 8-8. Following the long ball, DU pitcher Sarah Herold got the next two Poet batters to fly out which pushed the game into extra innings.
Herold started the eighth on second base because of the international tiebreaker rule. Freshman Emilie Fisher put runners on the corners with a one-out single. Secaras followed the base hit with a three-run bomb, her second of the game, to give the Big Red an 11-8 lead. In the home half of the eighth, sophomore Colleen Hoffman replaced Herold inside the circle in hopes of securing her first save of 2017. Hoffman got the first two runners to ground out before a bunt single by Brianna Alvarez scored Madison Crimi-Demichele. The sophomore nailed down her second-career save after inducing a fly out to Bagan in left.
The Big Red took their first lead of the game on a two-run double to left center by senior Ryan Lee that scored Lindsey Clemson and Bagan. After the Poets tied the game in the bottom of the third, Secaras broke the tie with a solo homer in the top of the fourth. Clemson and Mckinly Vazquez added to DU's advantage with RBI singles that scored Ricki Asher and Clemson, respectively.
Whittier regained the lead with a four-spot in the home half of the fourth. Denison quickly responded in the when Maddie Crull scored on a Bagan base hit. Senior Kerry Hager and Fisher provided RBI base knocks to extended DU's lead to 8-6. A miscue by the Big Red defense allowed Brianna Alvarez to score, shrinking the Poet deficit to one heading into the seventh frame.
Herold improved 2-0 on the year after surrendering eight runs (six earned) on nine hits with three strikeouts. Herold also went 3-for-5 at the plate with two runs scored. Hoffman surrendered an unearned run on one hit in the final inning of the game to pick up the save. Vazquez collected three hits on the day, while Secaras belted two home runs and drove in four runs. Fisher, Bagan and Clemson also recorded two hits each.
Game two produced its own form of excitement. Heading into the final inning, the Big Red trailed the home team by a pair, 8-6. Bagan opened the top of the frame with a double to right center. With one out, Lee delivered a base hit up the middle that put runners at the corners. The duo of Bagan and Lee executed a double steal to perfection as Bagan came across to score while Lee made it all the way to third base.
With runners at the corners once again following a Vazquez walk, Herold drove in Lee with a ground ball to short. Hager continued the production with a double to right center that plated Vazquez. Herold and Hager scored the final two DU runs in the seventh on a ground out by Fisher and a base hit from Secaras, respectively.
In the bottom of the seventh, relief pitcher Erin Laswell struck out the first batter looking. The next hitter, Ally Fonseca, reached on a defensive miscue. With the Poets looking to build momentum, Alvarez lined out to Lee at short for the second out. The senior shortstop made a quick throw to Secaras at first to double off Fonseca to complete the game-ending double play.
Denison opened the contest with three runs in the first half inning. Whittier responded with a solo run in the second, a tally that was matched in the DU half of the third. The Poets tied the contest with a three-run third. The Big Red regained the lead with two runs in the fifth before four unanswered tallies by the home team put Whittier ahead 8-6 through six frames.
Laswell (1-1) earned the win out of the bullpen after tossing 1.2 hitless innings with a strikeout and a walk. Starter Taryn Welch took a no-decision after giving up four runs in 2.1 innings. Of Bagan's four hits, three were doubles to go along with two RBIs, two runs scored and two stolen bases. Lee went 3-for-4 with two runs driven in and a stolen bag. Herold and Asher both had two hits, two runs and a RBI, while Fisher also had a pair of hits.
Denison (5-1) will carry their four-game winning streak into tomorrow's doubleheader at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Game one of the twinbill is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. ET.