April 14 – MEADVILLE, Pa. – Behind some clutch, two-out, hitting, the Hiram College softball team earned a doubleheader sweep of Allegheny College on Thursday afternoon in Meadville. The Terriers captured game one by a 6-4 score, before taking game two, 9-6.
The sweep over the Gators marked the first time since the 2011 season that the Terriers have taken a series over Allegheny. It is also just the fifth time since 1986 that Hiram has taken both halves of a doubleheader against the team from Meadville.
Of the Terriers' 15 runs throughout the day, 11 were scored with two outs recorded in an inning. Three different players came through with two out, multi-RBI, hits including Shalynn Call, Makenzie Dombrowski and Nikki Budner.
In game one, Hiram got on the board first, tallying three runs in the top of the third. Budner led off the inning with a single before moving to second on an error. After a double steal pulled by the Terriers, Budner scored the game's first run on a fielder's choice, as she beat the throw to the plate.
Two batters later, after back-to-back strikeouts, Call came through with the first clutch hit of the afternoon, posting a two-RBI single that scored Heather Pahoresky and Dombrowski to make the score 3-0.
Hiram also added a run in the fourth inning, but saw a three-run lead dwindle to one in the bottom half of the fourth as the Gators plated a pair to cut the lead to 4-3.
With two outs and the bases loaded, Brittany Zajac came on to pitch in relief. She stranded all three runners as the next batter lined out to third to keep Allegheny from taking the lead.
The two sides traded runs in the fifth inning, as Hiram pushed the lead to 5-3 on a RBI by Haley Adams in the top of the fifth. Allegheny responded with a run of their own, however, closing the gap back to 5-4.
The final run of the game was set up by Brooklynn Grein. The freshman notched the first triple of her career to right-center field, before being brought home on a single by Zajac to round out the scoring at 6-4.
Offensively, Grein tallied a pair of hits and scored twice while Call posted a pair of RBIs. The Terriers were also a nightmare on the bases for the Allegheny battery, swiping seven steals, including three from Dana Perrotta.
The two-out magic was once again alive and well for Hiram in game two, scoring eight of their nine runs with two away.
Call got the scoring started in the first inning, dropping a well-timed suicide squeeze to score Perrotta from third. Allegheny would respond, however, notching four runs in the second to take a 4-1 advantage.
Still trailing 5-3 in the top of the fourth, it was Budner's turn to come through in the clutch. After loading the bases, the Terriers hit into back-to-back force plays to post two quick outs. Budner then turned on a fastball, doubling to left center and scoring Perrotta, Dombrowski and Pahoresky to give Hiram a 6-5 lead.
In the Terriers' next at bat, Hiram made two quick outs before loading the bases thanks to singles by Zajac and Alexus Acton, as well as a hit by pitch. Drombowski then unloaded the bases, also doubling to the left-center field gap to extend the lead to 9-5.
Allegheny would add one more run, but Zajac would keep the Gators from coming any closer, shutting the hosts down over the final two innings to capture her second win of the afternoon.
Throughout the doubleheader, Zajac came on in relief in both games, surrendering just one earned run through 8.2 innings while earning the victory in both. Her record on the season now stands at 4-2.
Offensively, Budner, Call, Zajac and Acton all tallied two hits, while Dombrowski and Budner notched three RBIs, apiece.
Hiram will be back in action on Friday, April 14, as they will host Ohio Wesleyan University for their home opener of the 2017 season. The game, originally scheduled for Saturday, was moved up one day due to impending weather complications. The doubleheader is slated for a 3:30 p.m. start.