Pitching leads softball to sweep

(Kayela Tidrick / Heidelberg Athletics)
(Kayela Tidrick / Heidelberg Athletics)

Clermont, Fla. -- For the fourth straight season, the Heidelberg University softball team swept on opening day. The Student Princes defeated Johnson and Wales 4-3 in game one before dropping Houghton in the nightcap, 9-0.

With the two wins, Kelli Williams picks up her first victories as head coach at the Berg.

KEY STATS

Casey Moore: 3 for 5, 2 doubles, 3 RBI

Erin Chapman: 6.2 IP, 6Ks, 3 for 6, RBI

Kaitlyn Moore: 5.1 IP, 8Ks, 0 runs

Taylor Hicks: 3 for 4, 2 BB, RBI

GAME ONE: Heidelberg 4 Johnson and Wales 3

The Berg jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Taylor Hicks led off the inning with a walk. Kaitlyn Moore walked and Casey Moore singled to load the bases for Randi Kelsey. The senior delivered with a line drive to right to plate Hicks.

Classmate Chapman followed Kelsey with an RBI single of her own. After a fielder's choice, Joanna Catalano was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, forcing in the third run of the frame.

Chapman worked her way out of trouble in the top of the third. With runners at the corners and one out, a gusty wind pushed a pop up from the pitcher's circle to behind the plate. Kelsey made an acrobatic catch to hold the runners. A walk loaded the bases, but Chapman struck out Ally Mishol to wiggle out of the jam.

HU used the momentum to tack on a run in the bottom of the frame. Casey Moore led off the inning with a double off the left field fence before being lifted for pinch runner Abby Barno. A Chapman line out to right field allowed Barno to advance to third.

A wild pitch bounced off the backstop directly to JWU catcher Sierra Allen. Allen dove to guard home plate, but Barno danced around the tag for the fourth HU run.

JWU pushed across a run in the fifth to cut the Heidelberg lead in half.

Chapman recorded the first two outs of the seventh inning before running into trouble. After an RBI double by JWU's Katie Rufo, Chapman gave way to freshman Kaitlyn Moore. With the tying run on second, Moore struck out Brenna Duper for the save and the win.

GAME TWO: Heidelberg 9 Houghton 0 (5 innings)

Casey Moore roped a double to the left centerfield fence to give the Student Princes an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first.

Haylee Patel led off the second inning with a line drive to right field, and an error allowed her to advance to second. Megan Rutledge placed a beautiful bunt single down the third base line, moving Patel to third. Junior Bailey Smith slapped a single through the left side to score Patel.

Hicks followed with a bloop single to center to score Rutledge. A throwing error allowed Smith to scamper to third and Hicks to move to second. Renee Lovett singled in Smith to push the Tricolor lead to 5-0.

Singles by Abbey McKee, Chapman, and Patel loaded the bases for Rutledge in the third inning. The sophomore tallied her first collegiate RBI with a line drive to right field. HU scored twice on bases loaded fielder's choices and a bases loaded walk issued to Casey Moore.

Kaitlyn Moore gave up just four hits in the win, earning a victory in her first collegiate start. The freshman struck out seven in five innings of work.

"We came ready to play today," said Williams. "I thought we did a good job of jumping on pitchers early in the count."

Williams on the pitching staff: " Our pitchers threw a great game today ... They kept hitters off balance and allowed our defense to do some work ... I'm excited to see what they're going to do the rest of this season."

UP NEXT

The Student Princes return to action in the Sunshine State tomorrow morning. HU will take on Penn St.-Behrend at 8 a.m. before playing Nebraska Wesleyan at 10:30.