HUNTINGTON, Ind. - The HU softball team proved they like playing under pressure as they tallied a pair of come-from-behind wins, both by way of walk-off singles, over the University of Saint Francis Cougars Monday afternoon.
With these wins, HU improves to 11-11 overall, 7-5 in conference play. For the Cougars (9-14, 4-2), it was their first two Crossroads League losses.
Katie Knous singled in the game-winner in the opener to give Huntington a 5-4 victory in the ninth. It was her third hit of the contest, the Foresters’ 15th of the game.
Katie Bowers went 4-for-5 at the plate to go along with a run scored while Lindsay Shellabarger and Cristin Carter each posted a pair of hits.
Marcie McDougle notched the complete-game win. She spent nine innings on the mound and gave up nine hits, four runs while striking out seven. To date, the junior hurler has given up only three walks on the season.
After spotting the Cougars a 3-0 lead, the Foresters finally got on the board in the bottom of the fourth when Carter knocked in a run with a single into left.
With two outs in the fifth, HU pieced together an impressive rally to pull even with their visitors. Allison Greene started things off by bunting her way to first and eventually finding her way home on an Emily O’Leary RBI-blooper into left. After an infield single earlier in the inning, Bowers also touched home on a well-executed double steal with O’Leary to knot things up at 3-3.
The next two innings were relatively quiet as neither team scored to extend the game to extra innings. USF’s Erica Smith drilled the first pitch of the eighth over the left field fence to give the Cougars a one-run advantage but not to be outdone, HU responded with another two-out rally.
With runners on second and third thanks to a Knous single, Kaitlyn Troyer walk and passed ball, Bailey McIntire came up with a clutch RBI-single to tie things up at 4-4.
After a three-up, three-down inning for the Cougars in the ninth, the Foresters’ bats came to life after two quick outs. O’Leary reached first on a missed catch and Shellabarger singled to left to set the stage for Knous’ walk-off single to deep right-center.
The nightcap was just as exciting and this time it was freshman Katie DePew who came up with the walk-off single to will her team to an 8-7 win.
It wasn’t the cleanest of games as both teams committed four errors but they more than made up for it with solid hitting. Huntington pounded out 15 hits to the Cougars’ 14 in the run-filled contest.
The Cougars opened up a 1-0 lead after their first at bats but it was short-lived as the Foresters manufactured three runs in the bottom of the second. With bases loaded, Annie Weaver singled to right to drive in two runs and for the second time that day, Huntington plated a run on a double steal to take a 3-1 lead.
The Foresters added another run in the fourth when McIntire doubled in Shellabarger who had singled earlier in the inning to push the lead to 4-1.
Fast forward to the sixth inning where USF had their way offensively. Seven hits and an HU error later, the Cougars enjoyed a six-run inning to take a 7-4 lead. But the Foresters weren’t fazed as they methodically chipped away at the lead over their next two at bats.
Two-out rallies seemed to be commonplace for HU as they pieced together two runs with two outs in the sixth. DePew started things off with a single, Bowers was hit by a pitch and O’Leary knocked them both in with a single to right to close the gap to 7-6.
Huntington relied on timely hitting in the seventh to mount their second comeback of the day. Knous registered her third hit of the contest with a shot into center and then advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and ground out. Down to her last pitch, Carter came up with a base poke to score Knous and even up the score at 7-7. Weaver worked a base on balls to put Carter in scoring position, setting up DePew for her game-winning shot to left-center.
Knous finished a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate and scored two runs. DePew also tallied three hits to go along with an RBI and run scored. Weaver and O’Leary each added a pair of hits and just as many RBI while McIntire posted two hits, a run scored and an RBI.
Kaylin Yon came on in relief of Emily Puterbaugh and earned the win on the mound after throwing 1.1 innings of scoreless, hitless softball.
Assuming the rain holds out, the Foresters are back in action today when they travel to Indiana Wesleyan for a 5:00 p.m. doubleheader.