HUNTINGTON, Ind. - The Foresters came out swinging against Taylor University in the MCC opener Thursday afternoon to extend their win streak to twelve. The Foresters took it to the visitors 7-2 in the opener and then outlasted the Trojans 5-4 in eight innings in the nightcap for the series sweep.
Huntington improves to 14-4 overall, 2-0 in the MCC.
It was a game of high stakes as each team was vying for position in the top half of the conference. Taylor wasted no time scoring as they took an early 1-0 lead after their first at-bats but it was all HU after that.
The Foresters took charge with one swing of the bat in their half of the frame to jump ahead 3-1. After two walks and a hit batter to load the bases, Brita Kuiper ripped one down the left field line for a three-run double.
Fast forward to the fourth where the heart of the line-up came up big again for the Foresters to extend the lead to 6-1. Brandi Gower got things rolling with a Texas leaguer into right and then heads up base-running paid off as she advanced to second on a wild throw, scampered to third on a passed ball and stole home while Bowers occupied the Taylor defense by stealing second. Knous followed up with an RBI-double to drive in Bowers and then stole home to wrap up the inning’s scoring.
The Trojans got one back in the sixth but HU matched it in the bottom of the frame on Kuiper’s run scoring single. It proved more than enough as the Foresters cruised to the lopsided win.
Kuiper fueled the Foresters’ offense by going a perfect 4-for-4 with four RBI. Knous finished with two hits, scored two runs and drove in another.
Long scattered nine hits and allowed two runs to record the complete game win. She finished with two walks while striking out five.
The nightcap ended in dramatic fashion as freshman Cristin Carter delivered a walk-off single to lift HU over the pesky Trojans.
Despite being outhit by Taylor 11-8 in the game, the Foresters capitalized on their opportunities to escape with the 5-4 win.
Marcie McDougle got the nod on the mound and after holding the Trojans scoreless through the first three innings, the Trojans began to wear down the sophomore hurler by plating two runs in the fourth to jump ahead 2-0.
The Foresters were quick to respond in their half of inning. Kuiper knocked one off the left field fence for an RBI-double to pull HU within one at 2-1 and then Lindsay Shellabarger’s first homer of the season couldn’t come at a better time as she sent one long on an 0-1 count to secure a 3-2 advantage.
Taylor went back to work in the fifth to hammer out another run on McDougle’s watch before Molly Long came in for relief. Inheriting runners on the corners, HU’s ace retired the next batter to close out the inning.
While both teams generated scoring opportunities over the next two innings, Long and TU pitcher Hannah Klebesadel each found a way to maneuver their way out of several sticky situations to force extra innings.
Taylor retook the lead in the top of the eighth but the Foresters were far from throwing in the towel.
Kuiper continued to have her way at the plate by drawing a base on balls to start things off. Pinching running for the HU catcher, Pazia Speed stole second to put the tying run in scoring position and Allison Greene took full advantage with an RBI-base poke into right to knot things up at 1-1. Cristin Carter then registered her game-winning hit to the fence to clinch the come-from-behind win.
Shellabarger lit it up at the plate by going 3-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI to pace HU. Kuiper finished with an RBI hit as did Greene and Carter.
Long tossed the final 3.1 innings to log her second win of the day. She gave up four hits, one run and no walks while striking out one.
The Foresters hit the road on Saturday to take on Cedarville University for a 1:00 p.m. doubleheader.