HUNTINGTON, Ind. - The HU softball team slid into fourth place in the conference standings with a pair of wins, 11-3, 8-5, over Grace College Tuesday afternoon.
Huntington improves to 9-11 overall, 5-5 in Crossroads play.
Game one was a slugfest that featured an 11-9 hitting advantage for the Foresters in a shortened contest that featured three long balls.
Katie Bowers started the homerun derby with a two-run shot in the bottom of the third, her third of the season. Grace’s Olivia Winget blasted one over the left field fence to open the fourth and then Lindsay Shellabarger finished things off by sending one deep on a 0-1 count in the bottom of the fifth to plate three runs.
Highlighted by Shellabarger’s four-bagger, HU went on a tear in the fifth to build an eight-run lead and bring a quick end to the contest. Annie Weaver also came up big in the fifth-inning debacle, ripping two doubles in the inning with her last clearing the bases and bringing an abrupt end to the game.
Bowers logged her third RBI of the contest earlier in the inning when she knocked in Weaver on an infield single.
It was nip and tuck through the first four and a half innings with HU holding on to a slight 4-3 edge. Emily O’Leary doubled in HU’s first two runs in the bottom of the first and Bowers added two more in the third with her blast that nearly cleared the tennis fence.
Weaver finished 3-for-4 at the plate to pace her team offensively. She also scored twice and drove in three runs. The heart of the line-up in Bowers, O’Leary and Shellabarger each posted two hits. Bowers finished with three runs scored and just as many RBI, Shellabarger also added a trio of RBI and O’Leary added two more.
Marcie McDougle scattered nine hits and allowed three runs while striking out two to notch the complete-game win.
Things looked grim through the first four innings of the nightcap for Coach Gower’s squad as they dug themselves in a 5-0 hole. But their bats came to life in the fifth to mount an impressive come-from-behind rally to sweep the season series.
Katie Knous was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate and ignited the comeback when she drove one to the fence for a double in the bottom of the fifth. Bailey McIntire followed suit by doubling her in and eventually coming around to score on a fielder’s choice to close the gap to within three at 5-2.
HU carried the momentum into the sixth to explode for six runs and stun a Grace squad that was primed for the win. After back-to-back base pokes by O’Leary and Shellabarger, Knous singled to shortstop Samantha Field who bobbled the ball to give O’Leary plenty of time to scurry home. McIntire followed up with her second RBI-hit of the contest and Knous found her way home on a wild throw to knot things up at 5-5.
The Foresters took the lead on Cristin Carter’s RBI-double and then Bowers added two insurance runs when she logged the Foresters’ third double of the inning.
The Lancers put two runners on base in the top of the seventh but Emily Puterbaugh worked her way out of the inning to log her second win of the season. She pitched the final 4.2 innings and gave up five hits, two runs and three walks while striking out two. McDougle started for HU and gave up three runs on five hits in 2.1 innings on the mound.
HU finished with 12 hits with Knous leading the way. McIntire added a pair of run-scoring hits while O’Leary tallied two base pokes, drew two walks and scored a run.
The Foresters will look to defend their home field on Thursday when they host Saint Francis for a 3:00 p.m. doubleheader.