NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. – The Olivet College softball team stepped out of conference play for the day and won both games of a doubleheader at Manchester (Ind.) University. The Comets took the opener, 11-1, in five innings and then claimed a 7-2 win in the nightcap.
The Spartans used two singles, followed by two walks to plate their only run in the second inning of the first game. Olivet had two hits and took advantage of two Manchester errors to score fours in the top half of the third inning. In the inning, senior Alyssa Nielsen (Greenville) hit a two-run single and freshman Jessica Palumbo (Oxford) had an RBI-single.
The Comets busted the game open with a six spot in the fourth inning. Freshman Ashlynn Grubb (LaGrange, Ind./Lakeland) brought in the first run with an RBI-single. The next four runs came in when four straight Olivet players walked with the bases loaded. Freshman Kristen Acuna (Lansing/DeWitt) collected her first collegiate RBI with a pinch-hit RBI-ground out.
The Comets ended their scoring with a single tally in the fifth inning. Senior Terri Hurosky (Nashville/Maple Valley) roped a double into the right-center field gap and came around to score on Grubb's single. Manchester had runners at second and third in the home half of the fifth but a ground out ended the game early because of the eight-run mercy rule.
Offensively, Olivet had seven hits. Grubb and Palumbo each recorded two hits and two RBI. Grubb also scored two runs, while Hurosky crossed the plate three times. Nielsen drove in three runs. Grubb earned the pitching win, scattering five hits while striking out five.
In the nightcap, the Comets pushed across three runs in second inning. Nielsen led off with her team-leading seventh triple of the season and scored when a ball off the bat of sophomore Maddy Siebenmark (Bridgman) was dropped by the Spartan centerfielder. A ground out moved Siebenmark to second and then she scored on RBI-single by freshman Molly Renfroe (Homer). An error by the leftfielder moved Renfroe to third and then she scored on a throwing error by the third baseman on a batted ball from junior Ashley Milheim (Eaton Rapids).
Manchester got one back on a solo home run in the bottom half of the second. Olivet put the game away with a four-run sixth inning. Siebenmark started the inning with a double and scored on Palumbo's single up the middle. Freshman Christine Wood (East Lansing/Haslett) hit a single to advance Palumbo to second.
Freshman Chantel Johnston (Williamston) entered the game to run for Palumbo. The Comets then hit back-to-back doubles. Milheim had the first to plate Johnston, while senior Lauren Lenard (Dimondale/Lansing Catholic) hit the second to score Wood and Milheim. The Spartans strung together a hit, sacrifice bunt and another hit to plate a run in their half of the sixth inning.
For the game, Olivet collected nine hits. Lenard and Siebenmark each had a single and a double. Lenard drove in two, while Siebenmark scored two runs. Grubb picked-up the complete game, pitching victory. She gave up the two earned runs on five hits, while striking out six and walking nobody.
Olivet will take next week off for spring semester final exams and then be back in action in one week, April 26, when it travels to play a doubleheader at Kalamazoo College, beginning at 2 p.m.
NOTES: With the wins, the Comets have a 22-9 overall record. The 22 wins tie for the third-most in school history for a season. The school record for wins is 24 in 2006, followed by 23 in 2009 and 22 in 2005. Milheim has scored 29 runs in 2014, which is the fifth-most in a season in school history. She needs only two runs to move into third. The record is 40 by Anna Braner in 2009. Grubb has 14 pitching wins, which ties her for second all-time in a season at Olivet. The record is 15 by Jessica Davenport in 2000. Combined with her one triple during her freshman season and the seven this season, Nielsen sits second all-time for career triples with eight. Heidi Wear hit 11 triples from 2006-09.