College softball: Pioneers sweep Wilmington

Complete game victories by Alexis O’Hair and Trinity Schlabach led Marietta College to a softball doubleheader sweep over Wilmington College in its home opener Saturday.

Rachel Montgomery’s two-run single in the third inning of the opener gave the Pios a 3-1 lead, and a seven-run fifth inning closed the deal in a 10-2 win, while MC rallied from two runs down in the nightcap to open the Ohio Athletic Conference season with a pair of victories.

Wilmington touched up O’Hair for a single run in the first inning of Game 1 when Megan Warren led off with a double, and two outs later came around to score on a basehit by Kaylee Cox.

O’Hair with a little help from her defense managed to keep the lead at one run despite a pair of good scoring opportunities for the Lady Quakers.

Wilmington loaded the bases with just one out in the second but a fine play by Pioneer third baseman Sarah Mayo on a ball heading down the left field line resulted instead in a fielder’s choice at home plate before O’Hair induced Stacy Lunsford to fly out to end the inning.

The Pioneer outfield defense rose to the occasion again in the third inning as left fielder Michelle Kelly threw out Catlin Shilling attempting to stretch a single into a double, and one play later right fielder Brianna Finck stole a basehit away from Olivia Hutchinson by fielding her line drive on one hop and firing to second base to force out the Wilmington runner and defuse another Quaker rally.

Marietta took the lead in the third when Mayo led off with a walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Courtney Kerwood before the Lady Pios loaded the bases on singles by Brittany Curry and Kelley.

A balk by Wilmington starting pitcher Danielle Monnier forced in the tying run before Montgomery drilled a line drive into right field to give MC a 3-1 lead.

The Quakers got one of those runs back in the top of the fifth when Shilling homered over the fence in center field to make it 3-2.

Marietta College got that run back and then some in the fifth as it sent 11 batters to the plate to score seven times off three different Quaker pitchers to bring the game to an early finish.

A two-run double by Kerwood was the big hit in the inning for the Pios.

O’Hair allowed six hits and a pair of earned runs to improve to 4-2 on the season, while Monnier (4-5) took the loss.

The nightcap took on a similar theme as the first with Wilmington once again scoring in the opening inning to take the early lead. An RBI single by Kerrie Trautman and a run scoring fielder’s choice off the bat of Erica Lee gave the Quakers a 2-0 lead.

Trautman started game two for the Quakers and held the Pioneers at bay for the first three innings before MC rallied to tie the score at 2-2 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth.

Hannah Tarski scored on a wild pitch for the first run and Mayo’s sacrifice fly brought home the tying run.

The Lady Pios broke things open once again with a four-run sixth inning.

Schlabach got the pivotal sixth started with a double and after Tarski walked, Shilling came onto relieve Trautman on the hill for the Lady Quakers.

Shilling promptly issued back-to-back walks to Kallenborn and Finck to force in the tie breaking run and Mayo followed with a big two-run single to right center to make it a 5-2 game.

Kerwood’s sacrifice fly plated the fourth run of the inning and gave MC a 6-2 lead heading to the final frame.

Wilmington threatened in the top of the seventh when it loaded the bases with nobody out, but Schlabach bounced back to retire the final three hitters and seal the deal on a Pioneer sweep. Schlabach allowed seven hits and three runs to square her record at 3-3 with the win, while Trautman was pinned with the loss.

The Jeanne Arbuckle-led Pioneers (7-5) are scheduled to be back on the road Wednesday when they travel to Bethany College for a doubleheader.