SB: OAC action begins with a split

Photo courtesy of Mason Hainey
Photo courtesy of Mason Hainey

TIFFIN -- Pitching told the story in the Heidelberg University softball team's home opener. The Berg dropped the first game to Ohio Northern, 3-0, before rallying back and taking the nightcap, 5-0. HU opens Ohio Athletic Conference play at 1-1, and improves to 10-6 on the season.

With the win in game two, it was the first time Heidelberg shutout its opponent since Apr. 14, in a 4-0 win over Marietta College.

GAME ONE: Ohio Northern 3 Heidelberg 0

The Polar Bears did most of their damage in the fourth inning. Hailee Loughman reached on an error, and was followed by a line drive home run to left centerfield by Gabby Stewart. The stroke put the visitors up 2-0 after three and a half innings.

Renee Lovett doubled to leadoff the bottom of the fourth and advanced to third on a sac bunt, but was left stranded, as Ohio Northern's Kirsten Lightel induced a popout and a strikeout to end the inning. Lightel was masterful, allowing just three hits and striking out 12.

ONU added a run in the fifth, as Miranda Huddle plated Jenna Hollar on a single to left.

Sophomore Kaitlyn Moore suffered the loss in the circle, falling to 6-3 on the year. Moore scattered five hits in seven innings of work, while fanning five.

GAME TWO: Heidelberg 5 Ohio Northern 0

Heidelberg got its first run of the day in the bottom of the third. With two outs, Lovett smoked a ground ball down the right field line for a double. Sophomore Shelby Miller drove in Lovett with a line drive up the middle for an early 1-0 lead.

Ohio Northern threatened in the top of the fifth, loading the bases against HU starter Vanessa Macias. The freshman worked out of trouble, getting a crucial strikeout and a flyout to end the inning.

The Student Princes took the momentum into the bottom of the frame, starting with senior Haylee Patel. Patel crushed a triple down the right field line, igniting the HU offense. Playing small ball, Kaitlin Keys brought in Patel on a squeeze bunt, padding the lead to 2-0.

Leah Bouillon attempted to bunt over Keys, but the throw to second got away from the Polar Bears, leaving two runners aboard. Lovett reached on an error, which scored Keys, putting runners at second and third for Miller.

Once again, Miller delivered, muscling a single to right, plating Bouillon. Senior Abbey McKee capped off the scoring with a line drive through the right side to bring home Lovett.

With two on and two out in the bottom of the seventh, ONU grounded a ball, sure to find the 5-6 hole and continue the inning. Bouillon made a spectacular play at short, diving into the hole and throwing out the runner at first from her knees. The play sent the Berg home with its first conference win of the season.

Macias improved to 3-3, walking just one hitter through six innings.

UP NEXT

Tomorrow's game with Mt. St. Joseph have been postponed to a later date, not yet determined. The Student Princes will have a few days to regroup before they travel to Adrian College on Wednesday for a double header with the Bulldogs. First pitch is slated for 3:30 p.m.