HU softball team gets biggest win of season in split

The Huntington University softball team picked up its biggest win of the season, dealing second-ranked Marian University an 8-0 defeat on Wednesday, April 11.

With the victory, the Foresters split their doubleheader with the host Knights, who squeaked past Coach Doug Gower’s squad, 2-1, in the first game of the day.

In the win, Huntington beat Marian via the eight-run mercy rule. Losing in that manner has been a rare occurrence for the Knights, who last suffered such a defeat in 2015.

Overall, the loss snaps Marian’s 17-game winning streak to open Crossroads League play and is only the second loss of the season for the Knights, who slip to 26-2.

The Foresters, 15-12, 10-7 in league action, wasted no time building a lead on the Knights, racking up five runs in the first inning. Huntington pitcher Meghan Fretz and her defense then proceeded to protect that advantage, so that when the Forester offense scored three more runs in the fifth inning, the threat of the mercy rule loomed over Marian in its half of the frame.

Fretz saw to it that the Knights didn’t get on the board, coaxing three straight groundouts from their batters to seal the Foresters’ big victory.

Fretz earned the win in the circle, her fifth against two defeats. The freshman hurler yielded five hits in as many innings while striking out one and issuing no walks.

Senior Audra Klopfenstein, back in the lineup after missing 21 games due to injury, led Huntington at the plate with two hits and three runs batted in. Freshman Kennedy Krull chipped in a double and two RBI to the visitors’ cause while freshman Paige Eichelberger contributed two base pokes, an RBI and two runs scored. The Foresters finished with 10 hits for the game.

Grace Lumpkin took the loss for Marian, surrendering five hits and five runs, four of which were earned, in just a third of an inning.

In the opening game, the Foresters took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Huntington clung to that advantage until the fifth frame, when the Knights managed to knot the game. Marian then had the final cheer, pushing the winning run across home plate in the seventh.

Lairen Miller took the loss for Huntington. The sophomore, 9-3, went the distance in the circle, permitting 10 hits and the hosts’ two earned runs. She struck out one and issued one walk.

Miller’s Marian counterpart, Breena Smith, also went the distance, limiting the Foresters to four hits and their one earned run. The league’s reigning pitcher of the year, Smith fanned nine and issued no walks.

Sophomore Casey Lehman accounted for half of Huntington’s base pokes while sophomore Abby Keaffaber logged the team’s lone RBI.

The Knights were led on offense by Mackenzie Reeder and Issy Hoyt, who registered two hits and an RBI apiece.