Softball team splits doubleheader at Bluffton

BLUFFTON, Ohio – The Olivet College softball team split a non-conference doubleheader this afternoon at Bluffton (Ohio) University. The Comets came from behind to win the opener, 9-5, while the Beavers did the same in the nightcap, winning by a 3-2 score.

In the first game, Olivet raced out to a 3-0 lead with three runs on only one hit in the first inning. Junior Ashley Milheim (Eaton Rapids) and freshman Ashlynn Grubb (LaGrange, Ind./Lakeland) both walked before senior Terri Hurosky (Nashville/Maple Valley) hit a triple to score them. Hurosky scored on the played on a throwing error by the shortstop.

Bluffton scored once in the second inning and four times in the third to take a 5-1 lead. The Comets began their comeback in the fifth inning when senior Lauren Lenard (Dimondale/Lansing Catholic) lined a double to the left-center field gap to score Milheim and sophomore Maddy Siebenmark (Bridgman).

Olivet pushed across four runs in the sixth inning. Hurosky led off the inning by reaching base on an error. Freshman Jessica Palumbo (Oxford) was hit by a pitch. Both moved up one base on a successful sacrifice bunt by Siebenmark.

Freshman Devon Mayse (Adrian/Mason) hit an RBI-single to plate Hurosky and move Siebenmark to third. Freshman Shannon Huntley (Clio) followed with a pinch-hit single to score Siebenmark. Freshman Christine Wood (East Lansing/Haslett) entered the game as a pinch runner for Huntley.

Milheim reached base on a fielder's choice, with Mayse being put out at third base. Lenard lined a 3-1 pitch into the left-center field alley, again, for another two-round double to score Wood and Milheim. The Beavers had only base runner in the final two innings.

For the game, Lenard went 2-for-4 with two doubles and four RBI. Milheim scored three runs. Hurosky scored twice and drove in two runs. In the circle, freshman Morgan Stratton (Grand Blanc) improved to 7-0 on the season with a complete game, pitching performance. She allowed the five runs, two earned, on nine hits, with four strikeouts and zero walks.

There was no scoring in the nightcap until the fourth inning when Olivet pushed across a pair of runs. Hurosky hit a single to load the bases. Palumbo hit a 2-1 pitch into left-center to Grubb and Lenard. The Beavers took advantage of two Olivet errors to score their only runs in the bottom of seventh inning.

The Comets finished the game with eight hits, including two for senior Alyssa Nielsen (Greenville). Six others had one hit apiece. Extra base hits were Palumbo's two-run double and a double by Nielsen. Grubb was the losing pitcher, as she gave up the three runs, one earned, on eight hits. She struck out six and walked two.

Olivet's home-opener against Defiance (Ohio) College scheduled for Monday, March 24, has been postponed, and a make-up date has not been determined. The Comets will now be back in action next Saturday, March 29, when they travel to play Alma College for a Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association doubleheader, starting at 1 p.m.

NOTES: With the split, the Comets have an 11-2 overall record. The 11 wins equal their entire win total for the 2013 season. Grubb has struck out 72 batters in 43.1 innings. Olivet's pitching staff recorded 62 strikeouts in 190 innings last season. Milheim has posted team-highs in runs (17) and hits (20). Nielsen leads the team with seven extra base hits, including five triples. Lenard has driven in a team-leading 15 runs.