Softball Sweeps Webster; Clinches HCAC Tourney Bid
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Carly Heibel's RBI double in the bottom of the seventh helped the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology softball team sweep visiting Webster University with a 6-5 walkoff win after the Fightin' Engineers captured Game 1, 4-3, in Thursday's nonleague twin bill.
Rose-Hulman (17-13) defeated the Gorlocks (13-19) for the first time in school history after going winless in the previous eight tries.
With the help of a Transylvania victory over Franklin, the Fightin' Engineers received even better news: a spot in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament for the first time since 2008. Rose-Hulman (9-5 HCAC) are guaranteed at least the four-seed entering Saturday's regular-season league finale with Manchester.
In Thursday's nightcap, Heibel (Fort Wayne, Ind./Lakewood Park Christian) helped break a 5-5 tie in the seventh when her double to left center field scored senior Jenna Martinek (Troy, Mo./Troy Buchanan) from first after Martinek singled with one out.
The walkoff win came minutes after Webster evened the game with an Erin McGinnis double in the top of the seventh. After falling behind 2-0 in the top of the first inning, the Engineers used a big third inning, scoring four runs, to take a 4-2 lead.
Heibel opened the fourth with a double down the left field line and later scored on a Janel Lake (Okawville, Ill./Okawville) RBI double. Sophomore Whitney Strain (St. Charles, Mo./Orchard Farm) then plated two more runs with her RBI infield single, then scored on a Webster wild pitch to give the Engineers a two-run advantage.
Webster's Samantha Powers (3-for-3) helped the Gorlocks get back in it with a solo home run and an RBI single in the fourth and sixth innings before McGinnis tied it in the seventh.
Heibel finished Game 2 with three hits, Martinek added two singles and two runs and Jessica Ahlborn (Houghton, Mich./Houghton), Allison Bowman (Fort Wayne, Ind./R Nelson Snider), Lake, and Strain added singles in the six-hit effort.
Sophomore Taylor Lockhart (Robinson, Ill./Oblong) picked up her fifth win of the season in a seven-inning outing, allowing seven hits, three earned runs and striking out one.
In Game 1, Heibel captured her 10th win of the season in the circle, which is tied for fifth all-time in RHIT's single-season records. The junior allowed eight hits in seven innings, giving up three earned runs, striking out three and walking none.
Sophomore Marissa Stout (Terre Haute, Ind./South Vigo) delivered the big hit in Thursday's opener, as the second baseman drilled her second home run of the season over the left field wall to score two runs in the fourth to tie the ball game, 3-3.
Webster opened the game with three runs in the first after McGinnis belted a three-run shot over the left field fence to give the Gorlocks an early lead. The Engineers responded with a run in the second when junior Chris Rollins (Springfield, Ohio/Springfield) connected on an RBI single through the left side to score Bowman, who doubled to open the inning.
The game winner came in the fifth, when Lake scored on a wild pitch after doubling to left field to open the inning.
Heibel, Stout, Bowman, Rollins, Lake and freshman Ellissa Eckert (Sugar Grove, Ill./Kaneland) all had one hit in the six-hit effort.
The Engineers return to the field Saturday for RHIT's regular-season finale when it takes on Manchester University in a HCAC doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. at the RHIT Softball Complex. The team will honor its two seniors, Allison Bowman and Jenna Martinek, prior to the game.