CINCINNATI, OHIO -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology earned a key softball doubleheader sweep at Mount St. Joseph to move closer to earning its first bid to the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament since 2008 with 5-2 and 5-1 victories on Saturday.
With Saturday's outcome, Rose-Hulman needs one victory over Manchester University in next Saturday's Senior Day doubleheader to qualify for the four-team conference tournament set for May 2-3. Other scenarios exist that could secure the bid prior to next weekend's play.
In the opener, sophomore Marissa Stout (Terre Haute/South Vigo) blasted a three-run home run in the first inning to propel the offensive effort. Freshmen Ellissa Eckert (Sugar Grove, Ill./Kaneland) and Janel Lake (Okawville, Ill.) added two hits each for Rose-Hulman's 10-hit attack.
Other key offensive contributors included senior Jenna Martinek (Troy, Mo./Buchanan) with a single, one RBI and one run scored; and junior Ashley Loy (Cedar Lake, Ind./Hanover Central) with a double and one run scored. Heibel tossed a seven-hitter with four strikeouts and just one earned run allowed in a 5-2 victory.
In the nightcap, Rose-Hulman scored twice in the second inning and three times in the fourth to earn a 5-1 victory. Junior Jessica Ahlborn (Houghton, Mich.) slapped a double among three hits with one RBI, and Stout added a double and two more runs batted in to propel the offense.
Lockhart provided the strong pitching in the nightcap, allowing just four hits and one run with five strikeouts to improve to 4-3 on the season.
Rose-Hulman improved to 15-11 overall and 9-5 in HCAC games, while Mount St. Joseph stands 5-19 and 2-8 in league play. The Fightin' Engineers travel to Greenville College in a non-conference matchup on Tuesday.