SB: Berg slides past Otterbein in sweep

Photo courtesy of Doug Sampson
Photo courtesy of Doug Sampson

TIFFIN -- The Frann's Field magic is back.

Two extra-inning walkoff wins propelled the Heidelberg University softball team over defending OAC Regular Season and Tournament champion, Otterbein University, on Saturday afternoon. Heidelberg took the first game in ten innings, 4-3, before rallying back and taking the nightcap, 4-3, in eight innings.

With the sweep, HU moves into sole possession of first place in the Ohio Athletic Conference (17-7, 7-1 OAC). The Berg has now won seven straight, the last three in extra innings.

GAME ONE: Heidelberg 4-7-3 Otterbein 3-9-2

Heidelberg scored first -- taking a 2-0 lead with unearned runs in the fourth and fifth, both on dropped fly balls.

Otterbein (16-8, 5-3 OAC) scored all of its runs in the sixth. Megan Garner worked a lead off walk and was doubled home by Courtney Hackney. The Cardinals plated two more off a RBI single by Savannah Sarkine.

Undaunted, The Berg retaliated immediately. Kaitlin Keys roped a double to right center in the bottom of the frame, before being lifted for pinch runner Becca Radabaugh. Sophomore Leah Bouillon followed Keys's double with a two-bagger of her own, scoring Radabaugh.

With two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the tenth, senior Haylee Patel played the role of hero, crushing a triple to right center. The hit scored classmate Abbey McKee, who reached via walk.

Heidelberg pitchers Kaitlyn Moore and Vanessa Macias each worked five innings. Moore fanned five and got a no-decision. Macias only allowed two hits in the final five innings, picking up the win.

Otterbein starter Gabby Johnson (8-2) turned in a stellar performance. Johnson struck out 16 batters through 9.2 innings.

The 10-inning affair marked the longest game in the four-year history of Frann's Field.

GAME TWO: Heidelberg 4-8-2 Otterbein 3-7-2

The Cardinals held a slim 2-0 lead after five innings, led by Bailey McElwain. McElwain launched a solo home run in the third, and scored on a sac fly in the fifth.

After Patel reached on an error, Keys continued her hitting for extra bases, lining a double to the fence in right center. The stroke drove in Patel as Heidelberg cut the Otterbein lead in half.

Casey Moore sent a single up the middle in the sixth, and scored when McKee drove a ball to the wall in left. McKee was thrown out trying to advance to third, but the Student Princes tied the game at 2.

McElwain pushed the Cardinals ahead in the seventh with a single up the middle.

In the bottom of the seventh with two on and two outs, freshman Kaylie Rowland put together a phenomenal at bat. After 13 pitches, the pinch hitter squibbed a ball to the Otterbein first baseman. Trying to apply the tag to Rowland, the first baseman dropped the ball, allowing all runners to advance. Renee Lovett followed by grounding a ball to the shortstop, but beat out the throw, scoring Patel. Keys was nabbed at the plate trying to score the winning run, sending the game to extras.

Shelby Miller led off the bottom of the eighth with a double to left before being lifted for pinch runner Rachel Ensman. Esman moved to third on a passed ball during Casey Moore's at bat. The sophomore lifted a ball to right, deep enough to score Ensman for a game winning sac fly.

Moore and Macias (6-3) once again worked solid performances in the circle. Moore, the starter, scattered four hits through five innings, striking out four. Macias tossed three innings in relief, earning the win. Through 18 innings on the day, the duo allowed just one walk.

UP NEXT:

Monday's doubleheader at Hiram has been postponed. Heidelberg is scheduled to resume play on Wednesday -- an OAC twinbill at John Carroll University. First pitch in University Heights is slated for 3 p.m