Kelsey's clutch hit helps softball sweep

(Mason Hainey / Heidelberg Athletics)
(Mason Hainey / Heidelberg Athletics)

TIFFIN -- It wasn't the number of hits that earned the Heidelberg University softball team a sweep, but the timeliness of the hits. On the verge of conceding a split with Muskingum University, senior Randi Kelsey's bases clearing double gave HU the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning -- just the second hit of the game.

The Student Princes took game one, 6-2, before rallying for a 3-1 game two win.

With the wins, Heidelberg improves to 17-9, 6-2 in OAC play. The Muskies slip to 11-17, 3-5 in conference action.

GAME ONE: Heidelberg 6 Muskingum 2

The Muskies got on the scoreboard first, literally, in the top of the first inning. Melissa Maiorano hit a homerun off the scoreboard in right centerfield for a 1-0 lead.

Heidelberg answered right back in the bottom of the frame. Renee Lovett reached on an error and moved to third on a single from Erin Chapman. Casey Moore hit an RBI groundout to bring in Lovett to even the score at 1.

Muskingum added another run in the top of the second. After a leadoff double, Chapman struck out the next two batters. With two outs, Abigail Orr lined a shot up the middle that ricocheted off Chapman and scored the runner from second.

Once more, HU responded to the Muskingum run. Abbey McKee led off the inning with a chopper up the middle. After advancing to second on a beautiful sacrifice bunt by Kelsey, McKee was lifted for pinch runner Abby Barno. With the infield playing in, Taylor Hicks popped up a ball that landed right behind the second base bag to plate Barno.

The Student Princes took the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth. Casey Moore sent a double to deep left centerfield to put herself in scoring position for McKee. McKee bounced a single through the 5-6 hole to left field. The Musky left fielder could not come up with the ball cleanly, allowing Moore to race home.

Looking for an insurance run in the sixth, the top of the lineup produced for HU. Hicks led off the inning with a line drive to center and scored on a triple by Lovett. On a squeeze bunt, Chapman brought in Lovett for a 5-2 Berg lead.

Chapman scooted to second on a sac bunt before being lifted for pinch runner Christine Bowling. Junior Bailey Smith sent a hard grounder up the middle to score Bowling and give HU a 6-2 advantage.

Chapman (8-4) picked up the win. The senior struck out 11 over seven innings and allowed just two runs.

GAME TWO: Heidelberg 3 Muskingum 1

The Muskies pushed across a run in the top of the third inning. Orr led off the inning with a single, and after a sac bunt scored on a single up the middle by Jessie Matthews.

Heidelberg did not record a hit until the bottom of the sixth inning when Casey Moore hit a single through the left side. McKee followed with a walk and moved to second on a fielder's choice. With two outs, Kaitlyn Moore tapped a ball to the shortstop, but the throw pulled the first baseman off the bag to load the bases for Kelsey.

The senior delivered with a bases clearing double to left centerfield to turn a one run deficit to a 3-1 lead.

Starting pitcher Kaitlyn Moore did not allow a single in the seventh to phase her. With a runner on second, Lovett made a fantastic play on a ball up the middle that looked to score the runner. Lovett scooped the ball and threw to first for the second out of the innings.

Moore induced a foul out next to the fence in right field to fittingly enough, Kelsey, for the final out of the game. She struck out seven and scattered six hits through seven innings of work.

EXTRA BASES

Both teams struggled pushing runs across the board in game one. Muskingum left nine runners on base while HU left 10 stranded.

Head coach Kelli Williams on the sweep: "Muskingum is a great ball club and getting two wins against them was huge ... Our pitchers allowed our defense to do work and they did a great job."

Williams on the impact of the bench: "Our bench was on fire today and that was a positive for us. They were a difference maker."

UP NEXT

Heidelberg travels to Baldwin Wallace (8-12, 2-6) on Tuesday for an OAC double header. First pitch of game one is scheduled for 3 p.m.