May 2, 2014

DU bows out of NCAC Tournament

Denison's 2014 season came to a close on Friday following a 5-2 loss to Wittenberg and a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Ohio Wesleyan at the North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament in Greencastle, Ind.

In matchup between the second-seeded Tigers and the No. 3 Big Red, two of the conference's top pitchers took the circle in Denison's Rebecca Dyer and Wittenberg's Rachel Ross.

In the bottom of the first inning Wittenberg struck first with a solo home run by Laura Rose over the wall in right field.

In the top of the third, DU would tie the game when a wild pitch by Ross allowed Denison's Rachel Laughlin to score with the bases loaded.

In the top of the fourth, Ross led off the inning with a solo homer to center.  Dyer would retire the next two Wittenberg hitters, but after walking Kaela Hughes, Ashley Wright doubled to left, scoring Hughes.

The two-out rally would continue as Shannon Lance stroked a double down the right field line, plating Wright and giving her team a 4-1 lead.

DU would threaten in the fifth but with two on and nobody out, a fly ball by Erin Laswell resulted in a double play when Ryan Lee was gunned down at home plate by Rose in centerfield.

In the bottom of the fifth, after Dyer had been replaced by Laswell to open the inning, Ross would strike again with an RBI single to the gap in right-centerfield to put her team up 5-1.

In the seventh inning, Denison's Anna Balch smacked a two-out pinch hit home run and Julie Rooney followed with a single through the left side of the infield.  Ross would settle down and retire Lindsey Kenyon for the final out of the game.

Dyer (11-4) pitched four innings, allowing four earned runs, five hits and two walks while striking out five.  In her final inning of work her eighth and final strikeout moved her into first place on the Denison career strikeout list.  She passes Courtney Zollars '02 who racked up 479 strikeouts in her career.

Ross went the distance for Wittenberg to improve to 17-6.  She allowed seven hits and two earned runs while striking out five.  She was also 2-for-3 at the plate with two RBIs and one run scored.

DU was led offensively by Rachel Laughlin who was 2-for-3 with one run scored.  Balch's pinch hit home run was the first of her career.

In the elimination game with the Battling Bishops, Denison took a 1-0 lead in the third inning when Kerry Hager scored via a passed ball after reaching base with a double.

OWU would strike back in the bottom of the sixth inning with a pair of runs off three hits and one Big Red error.  The big blow came from Dani Haley's RBI double that plated the eventual game-winning run.

Dyer went the distance in game two.  Both runs she allowed were earned and the senior struck out seven to end her career with a DU record 487 strikeouts. Rooney was 2-for-3 in game two as she led DU offensively.

Denison's season comes to a close with a record of 20-16.