The Goshen College softball team has won six of its last eight after a pair of Mid-Central College Conference splits on the road this weekend.
UPLAND, Ind. - The long ball was the story as the Maple Leafs and Trojans of Taylor University combined for six home runs in a split on Friday afternoon. Goshen took the opener 8-7 before the hosts responded with an 8-5 win in game two.
The Leafs were the first to strike, scoring the first run of the day on back-to-back doubles by Melissa Hershberger and Kelsey Morris in the first inning. They added a second run in the second on an two-out RBI single by sophomore Jenna Nofziger.
Taylor got on the board in the third inning scoring twice on a pair of singles and a Goshen error. The tied score (2-2) would not last long, though, as the Leafs put together their biggest rally of the contest in the next half inning.
Sophomore Christine Stubblefield started the frame with a double to right before junior Ame Blankenship blasted her first home run of the season (second career) to regain the lead. The Leafs scored two more during a four-run rally, which also included an RBI double by Melanie Meyer and RBI single by Morris.
The game was far from over, however, with Taylor quickly responding with three in the bottom of the fourth. Both teams also scored in the fifth (one by Goshen, two by the Trojans) to head to the final two innings tied at 7-each.
Stubblefield and Blankenship were at it again in the seventh. For the second time in the game, Stubblefield led off with a double. After moving over to third on a wild pitch, Blankenship singled her home for the eventual game winner.
Sophomore Grace Ispas pitched a perfect bottom of the seventh to hold on for the win. Ispas threw two perfect innings of relief, while three Goshen pitchers combined to allow just seven hits (Alyssa Brodbeck had three of those). Stubblefield was 3-for-3 with three runs scored and through the game was nine for her last 10.
In the nightcap, Caitlin Vukorpa and Sabrina Alaniz hit back-to-back homers in the second to give Taylor an early 4-0 lead. Goshen's answers came in the fourth (two-run homer by Stubblefield) and fifth (three-run Hershberger shot) as they tied the score at 5-5. Alaniz's second of the game, though, a three-run blast in the bottom of the fifth proved to be the difference.
MOUNT VERNON, Ohio - Just like the previous day, the Maple Leafs won the opening game (5-4) of a double-header before falling (3-2) in the second, this time to new MCC member Mount Vernon Nazarene University.
The teams traded single runs in the first inning of game one. Goshen's came after Meyer led off the game with a single then stole both second and third base. Hershberger then singled to put the first run on the board. Meyer was at it again in the third when she tripled home Nofziger for a 2-1 lead. The hosts tied it in the fourth setting up the Leafs biggest rally, a three-run fifth which included RBI singles by Stubblefield and Jana Beitler.
Single Cougar runs in the sixth and seventh were not enough to comeback and stop a 5-4 Goshen win. Ispas fired the complete game, striking out five and gave up just two earned runs. Four Maple Leafs (Meyer, Hershberger, Kat Berg, and Beitler) had multi-hit efforts.
Game two was a pitcher's duel with the team's combining for just nine hits and five runs. Both of Goshen's runs came in the first inning on a two-out, two-run triple by Kat Berg. Mount Vernon trimmed one off the gap in the third, but did not take its first of the day until a two-run fifth. Morgan Wade was 2-for-3 with two knocked in.
Goshen (14-25, 4-12 MCC) will play its final home games of the year when they host Bethel on Thursday. First pitch is slated for 3:30 p.m. with team's honoring cancer survivors with a special presentation.