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DU drops NCAC opener to DePauw

Lindsey Kenyon hit .500 in Tuesday's doubleheader against DePauw.
Lindsey Kenyon hit .500 in Tuesday's doubleheader against DePauw.

The Denison softball team suffered a pair of one-run setbacks to North Coast Athletic Conference rival DePauw on Tuesday in Granville, Ohio.  The Big Red fell in the opener 4-3 and dropped a 3-2 decision in the nightcap.

In game one, the Tigers generated a pair of behind an RBI ground out by Jennifer Ridge and a two-out single to center from Lauren Krumwiede.  DePauw added to its lead in the third when an infield single by pinch hitter Beth Chelmowski scored Megan Landahl from third.

After being held hitless through the first 4.2 innings, the Big Red offense finally broke up both the no-hit and shutout bids by Tiger hurler Kahla Nolan.  Senior Rachel Laughlin drew a walk to open the fourth. Laughlin moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Ryan Lee.  With two outs, freshman catcher Lindsey Kenyon dropped a base hit down the right field line that scored Laughlin.

DePauw answered with a run in the top of the sixth to rebuild a three-run lead.  In the bottom of the frame, DU continued its rally with a pair of runs to shrink the margin to 4-3.  Freshman Kerry Hager got things going when she was hit by a pitch with one out.  Senior Gretchen Staubach followed with a triple to the gap in right center that easily scored Hager.  Laughlin knocked in the second run with a two-out base hit up the middle. The Big Red got the game-tying run on in the bottom of the seventh. However, a fielder's choice out to short and an unassisted ground out to first secured the DePauw win.

Staubach and Laughlin both had a hit, an RBI and a run scored in game one, while Kenyon recorded an RBI single.  Senior Rebecca Dyer suffered the loss despite a solid outing inside the circle.  Dyer (2-2) allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits with seven strikeouts.

The Big Red gained the early advantage in game two with a run in the bottom of the first. With the one-run lead, freshman pitcher Erin Laswell toed the rubber with a new confidence as she allowed just one base runner in each of the next three frames.  Laswell got into a little trouble in the fourth as Linsey Button reached third with two outs.  However, the freshman induced a ground ball back to the mound for the third out of the inning.

Laswell's one hiccup came in the fifth inning. With one out, the Tigers loaded the bases with a pair of singles and a catcher's interference call.  With the infield playing in, Ridge hit a sharp ground ball to Lee at second. The freshman got up and threw a strike to the plate to retire Julia Waggoner. One out away from escaping the jam, Button sent a rocket to left center that cleared the bases and put the visiting team up 3-1.  The inning came to an end on a diving grab by Lee in front of the second base bag.

Hager led off the bottom of the sixth with a double to the gap in left center.  With two on and one out, Laughlin dropped a single into right that scored Hager, shrinking the deficit to 3-2.  After Lee drew a one-out walk, the bases were loaded for the Big Red offense.  Despite working into a pickle, Nolan was able to extinguish the threat with back-to-back strikeouts.  Kenyon led off the bottom of the seventh with a single to short right.  Julie Rooney and Hager followed with back-to-back sacrifice bunts to move the game-tying run 60-feet away from home.  Once again in a jam, Nolan struck out her fourth batter of the game to nail down the victory.

Kenyon led the DU offense with two hits, while Laughlin and Staubach each had a hit and drove in a run. Rooney and Hager also had a hit and scored a run.  Laswell (2-2) took the hard-luck loss after allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits with one strikeout.

Nolan improved to 10-6 after picking up a pair of wins on Tuesday.  In 14 innings, the DePauw hurler threw 218 pitches and allowed five runs on 10 hits. She also walked four and struck out seven. Taylor Golden finished the twinbill with four hits and two runs, while Button recorded three hits, three RBIs and a run scored.

Denison falls to 6-6 overall and 0-2 in the NCAC, while the Tigers improve to 13-9 and 4-0 in league play.  The Big Red returns to action on Thursday when they travel to University Heights, Ohio for a doubleheader with John Carroll. Game one is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m.