Softball Sweeps Defiance to Open HCAC Play

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology softball team opened Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play with two victories behind a throttling performance at the plate, as the Fightin' Engineers defeated Defiance College 7-3 and 8-6 Saturday.

Rose-Hulman (5-3, 2-0 HCAC) tallied 23 total hits in the two victories, led by five from senior Jenna Martinek (Troy, Mo./Troy Buchanan) and four from sophomore Marissa Stout (Terre Haute, Ind./South).

The Engineers also finished with 12 extra-base hits, as Jessica Ahlborn (Houghton, Mich./Houghton) connected for her first home run of the season and two doubles in Game 1 to lead RHIT, which also got three doubles from Martinek and a triple and two doubles from sophomore Whitney Strain (St. Charles, Mo./Orchard Farm).

Junior Carly Heibel (Fort Wayne, Ind./Lakewood Park Christian) continued her prowess in the circle, as she picked up both victories and allowed just one earned run, her first of the season. Heibel allowed seven hits and struck out four in 8.1 innings Saturday.

In Game 1, the Engineers struck first with a run in the top of the first inning after Stout's RBI single scored Martinek (double), from third. After Defiance scored three runs in the bottom of the second, the Engineers tied the game on runs in the third (Ahlborn solo home run) and the fifth innings (Heibel sacrifice fly to score Ahlborn, who doubled).

With the game tied at 3-all in the top of the seventh, the Engineers exploded for four runs. Ahlborn, Heibel and Martinek each doubled in the inning and junior Ashley Loy (Cedar Lake, Ind./Hanover Central) and freshman Janel Lake (Okawville, Ill./Okawville) added RBIs to make the score 7-3 Engineers.

Heibel then retired the Defiance order with a strikeout and two groundouts to end the game in the bottom of the seventh.

In Game 2, the Engineers opened the game with a 5-0 lead after scoring two runs in the second and three more in the third innings. A Strain triple scored Loy (reached on error) and Jett Bender (Monticello, Minn./Monticello) added an RBI to complete RHIT's scoring in the second. In the third, Stout singled to score Martinek (double) and a Loy single scored two runs to make it 5-0 Engineers.

Defiance didn't give in, as the Yellow Jackets (3-6, 0-2 HCAC) got a solo home run from Macy Ferrell and then tied the game on Kali Campbell's grand slam home run in the fourth inning.

After both teams netted runs in the fifth, the Engineers scored two in the sixth to take an 8-6 lead. RHIT benefited from two Defiance errors and a Stout double to left center proved to be the game-winning hit.

Ahlborn finished with three hits and an RBI, Heibel added three RBI and a double, Stout finished with four RBI, and Strain had three hits and two RBI for RHIT. The Engineers also got two hits from senior Allison Bowman (Fort Wayne, Ind./R Nelson Snider), two hits from Lake and two hits and three RBI from Loy in her first two appearances of the season.

The Engineers return to the field when RHIT travels to Bluffton, Ohio, for a HCAC doubleheader Saturday, March 29. Game 1 is set to begin at 1 p.m.