GRANVILLE, Ohio – Denison softball suffered a pair of losses to No. 25 Muskingum University in their home-opener on Wednesday afternoon, falling to the Muskies 13-9 in game one before dropping game two, 9-3.
In game one, the Big Red trailed 3-0 after the first inning of play following a pair of RBIs from Haley Hawk and Rachel Powers.
Still trailing in the bottom of the second, a lead-off walk to Amanda Howell set the stage for senior Laura Bagan who launched a two-run home run over the left-center wall to shrink their deficit to one, 3-2, entering the third. After the Muskies added two runs each in the third and fourth innings, Muskingum increased their lead to 7-2.
Four more runs in the sixth gave the Muskies an 11-2 advantage, but back-to-back RBI doubles from Lindsey Clemson and Howell, along with an RBI single from Bagan made it an 11-5 game in the home half of the inning. Trailing 13-5 in the bottom of the seventh, the Big Red answered with three-straight doubles that tallied four runs, but the Big Red came up short for their third loss of the season.
Senior Colleen Hoffman was handed the loss as she dropped to 1-2 on the season and finished the game with six strikeouts and four earned runs over five innings of work. Hannah Smith earned the win for MU to improve to 7-1.
In game two, Denison's Taryn Welch and Muskingum's Hannah Duff opened the game with a clean slate, allowing a combined two hits and totaling two strikeouts in the first inning.
In the bottom of the second, the Big Red answered first when Brennah Dutcher scored from third on an error by Muskingum's Jaelyn Meade to take a 1-0 lead.
After the Muskies followed with an RBI single from Riley Powers in the top of the third, the Big Red bats returned to action in the home half of the inning when Clemson doubled to left center, scoring Claire Powell from first to retake the lead, 2-1. Two batters later, Dutcher drove home Clemson from third with a sacrifice fly to center that increased Denison's lead to 3-1.
In the top of the fourth, RBI singles from Shaena Mayer, Meade, Hawk and Bailey Waitkus helped total six runs on six hits for the Muskies as they took their first lead of the game, 6-3. Muskingum added two more runs in the fifth as they completed the sweep and improved to 18-4 on the season. The Big Red dropped to 4-4.
Duff earned the win for MU, moving to 4-1 on the season after allowing two earned runs in a complete game effort. Welch was tagged with the loss, allowing five earned runs in four innings of work with five strikeouts.
The Muskies were led by Hawk's five RBIs on four hits while Mayer added four RBIs on four hits. Krissy Hughes and Karsyn Shaffer combined to score eight runs in both games.
Clemson led DU with four RBIs over both games on three hits with three runs scored. Bagan tallied three runs batted in in game one, while Emilie Fisher combined for four hits and two runs scored.
The Big Red will return to the field on Thursday, March 28 when they host Marietta College at 3:30 & 5:30 p.m.