CINCINNATI, Ohio -- The Mount St. Joseph University softball team opened Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play on Wednesday night. The matchup featured what will likely be two of the top teams in the HCAC this season.
The Lions opened up HCAC play by turning to their ace, sophomore Sarah Miller (Fischers, Ind./St. Theodore Guerin). She was very good through the early portion of the game for the Lions, pitching around danger in the first couple of innings. Miller allowed a pair of baserunners in the first inning, and left them stranded. The second inning was even scarier for the Mount, as Transy loaded the bases with three straight singles and no outs. Miller buckled down though and struck out the side to leave the bases loaded.
After a quick third inning the Lions finally got the scoring underway in the bottom of the fourth inning. Savannah Sturgill (West Harrison, Ind./East Central) led off the inning being hit by a pitch. She was quickly advanced via a sacrifice bunt off the bat of Miller. An error by the Transy shortstop on a sharply hit ball off the bat of Brandy Bunch (Mason, Ohio/Mason) allowed Sturgill to come around and scored the first run of the game.
The Mount would not hold the lead for long, as Transy came right back in the top of the fifth. Miller quickly recorded two outs in the inning, before allowing a pair of singles. The Pioneers loaded the bases on an error, and then quickly unloaded them due to an error as well. Three unearned runs scored on the play and set Transy up to take the victory.
In the bottom of the seventh inning the Mount, threatened to come back. They were able to push across a second run, and get the tying run to the plate. It was too little to late though and Transy took game one 5-2.
After losing for the first time in 15 games the Lions turned to senior Brianna Kauf (Orrville, Ohio/Orrville) to give them a chance to get back to winning. The Lions offense would help Kauf early on, scoring runs in each of the first three innings.
They scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning Miller drove in Brooke Otto (Brookville, Ind./Franklin Co.) on a single into leftfield. The Lions would get their second run on a wild pitch, as Sturgill raced home from third. They would add a run in the second inning as Alehia Tucker (Covington, Ky./Holy Cross) drilled a double down the leftfield line, scoring Olivia Quick (Sunman, Ind./East Central) from first base.
Transy answered back with a run in the third inning, thats when Kauf gave way to freshman Kamryn McCool (Brookville, Ind./Franklin Co.) on the mound. McCool would throw the final 4.2, striking out seven to get her seventh win of the season. The Lions quickly answered with another pair of runs in the bottom of the third inning.
Transy did threaten to come back, cutting the score to 5-1 in the top of the seventh, on a two run homerun. McCool though slammed the door shut and closed out the win for the Lions.
The Lions will take to the diamond again this weekend, as they once again host one of the better teams in the HCAC. They will take on last season's HCAC tournament champions the Franklin College Grizzlies at the Kinder Morgan Softball Complex, the games are scheduled to get underway at 1:00 PM. Tune into MSJsports.com for all of your live coverage of the double-header.