WESTERVILLE, Ohio -- The Big Red used an eight-run first inning to power past Otterbein 9-0 (5 inn.) in game one of Wednesday's doubleheader at Rike Field. The Cardinals earned the split with a 6-2 win in the finale.
In the opener, junior southpaw Sarah Herold tossed her sixth-career complete game shutout in five innings of work. Herold faced four batters over the minimum after scattering three hits and issuing just one free pass.
The junior hurler was backed by all the run support she would need before even stepping inside the circle. With one out in the top of the first, senior Ryan Lee reached on an infield single to third. Ricki Asher followed with a walk, while junior Lauren Secaras loaded the bases with a base hit through the middle of the infield. Sophomore Laura Bagan proved why she is one of the most dangerous hitters in the Denison line up as she cleared the bases with her first-career grand slam to put the Big Red in front 4-0.
Freshman Lindsey Clemson and junior Katie Folkers followed the long ball with back-to-back singles that brought Rachael Owens' day to an end. Otterbein's new pitcher, Kasey Morris, recorded the first out via a fielder's choice out at third before issuing a free pass to Mckinly Vazquez that re-loaded the bases. Looking to help her own cause, Herold stepped into the box looking to added to four-run advantage. She did just that with DU's second grand slam of the inning. The junior's first-career grand slam marked the first time in program history that DU hit two grand slams in a single game, let alone a single inning.
Now in possession of an 8-0 lead, Herold stepped inside the circle for the first time in the game. The junior lefty retired the side in order, including two strikeouts in her first inning of work. Herold surrendered a single hit in each of the next three innings while also recording a strikeout in each of those frames. After the Big Red added a run in the top of the fifth, the DU pitcher induced a fly out to center to cap off her first shutout of 2017.
Herold finished with five strikeouts en route to improving to 5-2 on the season. She also went 3-for-4 at the plate with four RBIs and a run scored, while Secaras and Clemson both has two hits. Bagan also drove in four and touched the dish twice.
In the nightcap, Otterbein jumped out to a 5-0 lead after three innings. Bagan got the Big Red on the board with a two-out, two-run homer to left center field. The sophomore's fourth long ball of the year shrunk the deficit to three. The Cardinals added solo run in the home half of the fourth to set the final score at 6-2.
Bagan, Lee, Asher and pinch hitter Charlotte Happel represented Denison's four hits in game two. Senior Erin Laswell (3-2) took the loss after allowing four earned runs (six total) on seven hits with five strikeouts across six innings of work.
Denison (12-6) will kick off North Coast Athletic Conference play on Saturday when they host Ohio Wesleyan on Saturday (April 1). Game one of the NCAC doubleheader is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.