PLANT CITY, Fla. -- The Randy Larson alligator brought partial rewards for the Heidelberg University softball team on Thursday afternoon.
The Student Princes earned their second win of the season in a split decision on day four of their spring trip to Florida. In game one, the Berg used a late sixth inning scoring spree to flip the script on Hood College (Md.) and take home a 5-3 win. In game two against Aurora University (Ill.), the Berg was dropped by early scoring and came out on the wrong end of a 6-4 scoreline.
With the split, Heidelberg now sits at 2-4 overall.
Kat Brady was 3-for-6 on the afternoon with two walks and an RBI. Brady also swiped two bases (one in each game).
Grace Fillinger earned her first career save for the Berg closing out the seventh inning of game one.
Game One: Heidelberg - 5, Hood - 3
The Student Princes took an early lead in the bottom of the first inning, but could not hold their advantage. After Shelby Miller had walked, Casey Moore laced a double off the left center fence, which brought home the go-ahead run early on.
The game quickly advanced to the fourth inning as both defenses looked to be in full control during the early innings.
In the top of the third inning, Abby Barno made a sliding catch on a sharply hit line drive. The play proved to be crucial as after a failed bunt attempt, Jules Baker roped a double to right field, which surely would have scored the runner if not for Barno's sliding play.
In the top of the fourth, Hood (2-2) quickly found runners on second and third. From there, on a first pitch, Cailyn Barthlow connected on a sac fly to straight away center field, giving Hood the tying run. After that, the Berg looked sure to get out of the inning, but a throwing error allowed the inning to continue. The Blazers scored two unearned runs after the error.
Hood held their advantage to the sixth inning, when the influence of the Berg bench game up big to swing the momentum. First, Erica Leber drilled a line drive to right center on the first pitch she saw. Next, pinch hitter Bailee Faulkner hit a line drive to left on her second pitch. With nobody out, Brooke Lewis laid down a sac bunt to advance the runners.
From there, Joanna Catalano took over. After the senior worked a nine-pitch at-bat, she connected on a shot down the left field line that scored both Berg runners. Next up, pinch hitter Bethany Redman advanced Catalano to third on a ground out. Continuing the dominant inning, Kat Brady hit a shot back to the third baseman who couldn't field the ball in time to beat out the wheels of Brady.
Brady's legs came into play during the next pitch as she swiped second base and advanced to third on a throwing error by the Blazer catcher. On a first pitch, Shelby Miller connected on a sharply hit bouncer up the middle which was cut off by the second baseman. Miller beat out the throw and Brady scored to complete the Berg's offense on the day.
Stephanie Drapp (2-1) earned the win as the starting pitcher, lasting six innings, allowing seven hits and three runs (one earned). Grace Fillinger worked the seventh inning walking one and did not allow a hit to earn her first save of the season. Kiley Banks (1-1) picked up the loss in relief for Hood.
Game Two: Aurora - 6, Heidelberg - 4
The Berg tried to pick up right where they left off in game two, as Faulkner singled home Brady to take a 1-0 lead after the top half of the first.
Unfortunately, Aurora (5-3) responded with two runs in the bottom half of the first to take control of the contest.
After having given up the run in the first, Aurora pitcher, Hannah Tomasko (3-1), settled in and worked a scoreless next four innings. The Spartans' bats helped Tomasko greatly in adding a run in the bottom of the third and three in the bottom of the fourth.
In the third, Aurora loaded the bases and forced a pitcher change for the Berg. Morgan Daniels (0-3) lasted the 3.1 innings giving up five hits. She was responsible for the three runners on base who all managed to find their way to score off reliever Stephanie Drapp.
Drapp settled in and allowed just three hits over the last two innings while picking up one strikeout.
The Berg offense made things interesting in the top of the sixth as they pounded out four hits and walked twice for three runs. First, Casey Moore reached on a stinging grounder through the left side. The ball was cut off by the shortstop but Moore beat the throw. Catalano and Leber then walked to load the bases.
With the bases loaded, Redman once again stepped in as a pinch hitter and punched a full count pitch up the middle for a single. Catalano and Moore both came home on the play for the Student Princes.
The inning continued as Brady tapped a well-placed single through the left side to load the bases once again. Miller then came to the plate and singled to center field and allowed Leber to score, but Redman was ruled out in a close home plate decision.
That proved to be the last of the Berg's scoring as Stephanie Renner came on in the seventh for the Spartans and earned her first save of the season.
The Tricolor returns to action tomorrow morning for their final two games of their Florida trip. First at 10 a.m., the Berg faces Emerson College before completing their spring trip against Worcester Polytechnic Institute at 12:15 p.m.