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DU posts two shutouts in sweep

Kelsey Hager recorded her 9th career shutout against Defiance on Thursday.
Kelsey Hager recorded her 9th career shutout against Defiance on Thursday.

The Denison softball team recorded a pair of shutout victories over Defiance on Thursday afternoon in Granville, Ohio.  DU won the opener 6-0 and secured a 1-0 decision in the nightcap.

Big Red pitcher Rebecca Dyer and Yellow Jacket hurler Alli Rowland dominated the early part of game one as they scattered five hits over four and a half scoreless frames.  During that span, Dyer struck out five Defiance hitters.

In the top of the fifth, the Denison bats broke the scoreless tie with a pair of runs on four hits.  The Big Red opened the frame with back-to-back singles.  After a fielder's choice put runners at the corners with one out, sophomore Julie Rooney laced a base hit up the middle, scoring Dyer from third.  With two outs, junior Meghan Edwards drove another single up the middle that scored freshman Grace Finkbiner, giving DU a 2-0 lead.

Denison added four insurance runs on six hits in the sixth.  Senior Kelly Cunningham opened the scoring with a sacrifice fly to right that drove in classmate Jess Robertson.  With two on and two down, Rooney hit a double to left center that plated Dyer.  Emily Lipsitz and Edwards followed with back-to-back RBI singles that extended DU's lead to 6-0.

Dyer improved to 9-5 on the year after tossing her fourth shutout of the season, and the 15th of her collegiate career.  The junior passed former DU standout Bri Scrafano (2005-08) for second on Denison's all-time career list, and she is now one shutout away from tying Denison Hall of Famer Courtney Zollars for the school record (16).  Dyer fanned eight batters and scattered four hits in the win.

In addition to her performance inside the circle, Dyer also went 3-for-3 at the plate with two runs scored.  Finkbiner also scored twice, while Rooney and Edwards both knocked in two.

In the second game, Kelsey Hager tossed her first shutout of the season after scattering four hits and striking out three in seven innings of work.  The junior pitcher retired the final seven batters in order, including a strikeout to end the game.

The Big Red's lone run in the fourth proved to be enough support for Hager's gem.  Robertson opened the fourth with a single to center field.  After a sacrifice bunt moved the senior into scoring position, Finkbiner ripped up a single up the middle that plated Robertson.

Finkbiner went 3-for-3 in the nightcap with an RBI.  Rooney, Edwards, Robertson, Dyer and Hager represented Denison's other five hits.

DU improves to 17-11 on the year, while Defiance falls to 11-15.  The Big Red resumes North Coast Athletic Conference play on Saturday when they travel to Wittenberg.  Game one of the doubleheader is slated to begin at 1 p.m.