Ozbun claims win 300; DU falls to DePauw in NCAC title game

Laura Bagan  |  Photo by Jace Delgado
Laura Bagan | Photo by Jace Delgado

GREENCASTLE, Ind. - Following a 5-2 victory over Wooster to open the day, Denison softball advanced to Sunday's championship game with DePauw where they suffered a 6-5 defeat to the Tigers in extra innings. Despite the loss, head coach Tiffany Ozbun secured the 300th win of her career when the Big Red defeated the Fighting Scots in Sunday's opening game.

After splitting with Wooster and DePauw on Friday, the Big Red had the same two teams to worry about as they entered the final games of the tournament.

Following a 4-3 defeat of Wooster in nine innings on Friday, Denison was paired up with the Fighting Scots once again, this time with senior Colleen Hoffman taking the pitching circle. In 4.1 innings of work, Hoffman kept the Wooster hitters at bay with one run allowed on five hits. With the win, Hoffman improved to 12-5 on the season.

Hoffman received two early insurance runs in the second when senior Laura Bagan connected on a two-run home run over the left field wall to give Denison the early 2-0 advantage. After Hoffman posted three-straight outs in the top of the third, the Big Red bats returned in the home half of the inning when Amanda Howell scored Lindsey Clemson on an RBI double to right field to put the Big Red ahead, 3-0.

In the next at-bat, Brennah Dutcher singled to center but scored Howell on a fielding error by Wooster as they carried a 4-0 lead through three innings.

Leading 5-2 in the top of the seventh, junior Taryn Welch earned her second save of the season after working out of runners on first and second to send Ozbun to her 300th victory and a career record of 300-179.

Clemson, Bagan, and Dutcher each went 2-for-3 with a run scored, while Bagan added two RBIs and Clemson posted a run driven in.

Wooster's Olivia Johnson took the loss to drop to 15-6 on the season. Kendall Lloyd and Molly Likins each collected two hits for the Fighting Scots.

Advancing to a rematch with DePauw in the sixth game of the weekend, the Tigers carried a 1-0 lead into the fourth until Howell launched a solo home run down the left field line to tie the game at 1-1.

Tied at 1-1 entering the seventh inning, it was Denison's turn to take the lead after an RBI single from Hoffman scored Allie Kovatch to put the Big Red ahead, 2-1. Clemson and Howell followed with back-to-back RBI doubles that helped tally four runs in the inning and give Denison a 5-1 lead entering the bottom of the seventh.

DePauw's Sidney Holler kept the Tigers alive with an RBI single in the third at-bat of the inning to cut the Big Red lead to 5-2. An RBI base hit from Kate Geary made it a 5-3 game, and a dropped fly ball scored two more runs to tie the game at 5-5 and send it to extra innings.

The Tigers secured their comeback in the bottom of the eighth on a sacrifice fly from Paige Price that gave DePauw their third-straight tournament title.

Howell led the game with a 3-for-4 effort, including one run and two RBIs. Claire Powell went 2-for-3 with a run scored, and Hoffman and Marrae Saucedo each went 2-for-4. Welch went the first six innings of play while allowing one earned run on seven hits. Hoffman took the loss for her sixth of the season. Clemson, Hoffman, Dutcher, and Welch were also all named to the NCAC All-Tournament team.

Geary, Holler, and Grace Smith each garnered two hits for DePauw, while Smith also scored three runs. Cami Henry collected her 17th win of the season in relief.

The Big Red finished the 2019 season at 22-14 overall with an 11-5 record in the NCAC, making this the 12th straight season of 20 or more wins under Ozbun.