March 3, 2014

Softball Wins First Two Games in Florida College Spring Games

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CLERMONT, Fla. -- The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology softball team kicked off its 2014 season with two victories after topping both Grove City (Pa.), 3-0, and Regis (Mass.), 7-1 on the Fightin' Engineer's opening day at the College Spring Games at the Clermont National Training Center Monday.

Pitchers Marissa Stout (Terre Haute, Ind./South) and Carly Heibel (Fort Wayne, Ind./Lakewood Park Christian) pitched complete games in two wins in the circle for the Engineers, while junior Lindsey Watterson (Lexington, Ind./Southwestern) and senior Jenna Martinek (Troy, Mo./Troy Buchanan) led the way at the plate with three hits on the day.

Watterson's performance included a double, an RBI and a stolen base, while Martinek added two RBI and a stolen base.

In Game 1 against Grove City, Stout broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the sixth inning with an RBI groundout to score junior Jessica Ahlborn (Houghton, Mich./Houghton), who walked to lead off the inning. The Engineers weren't finished, as senior Allison Bowman (Fort Wayne, Ind./R Nelson Snider) dropped in an RBI single past the second baseman to make the score 2-0 Rose-Hulman.

The Engineers added to their lead in the top of the seventh, as sophomore Whitney Strain (St. Charles, Mo./Orchard Farm) opened  the frame with a blast to left field that gave RHIT an opening triple. Martinek then delivered the first part of a successful suicide squeeze, laying down the sac bunt to score Strain and make it 3-0.

Grove City opened the bottom of the seventh with single, but RHIT freshman first baseman Janel Lake (Okawville, Ill./Okawville) completed an unassisted double play -- snagging a line drive and catching the non-tagging runner at first -- to end the game.

Stout kept the Grove City batters off-balance all game, holding the Wolverines to just  three hits while striking out five in seven innings of work.

Heibel and sophomore Jett Bender (Monticello, Minn./Monticello) added singles in the win, which included seven total hits by RHIT.

In the nightcap, the Engineers showed their power at the plate, blasting 10 total hits, including four extra-base hits. Before it could show its offense, though, Rose-Hulman displayed some defense when Bender's on-target throw from left field stopped a Regis runner attempting to score in the top of the first. Bowman completed the tag at the plate to keep starter Heibel's slate clean early, allowing the Engineers to escape the inning without allowing a run.

Heibel helped her own cause in the bottom of the frame with a line drive RBI double to score Ahlborn (single) from second for the game's first run. Stout followed with an RBI groundout to make the score 2-0 RHIT early.

RHIT tacked on three runs in the third, sparked by a Heibel blast up the middle that resulted in an errant throw by the Regis pitcher, allowing Ahlborn and Martinek to score. Stout then drilled a ball to right center for a standup double RBI to score Heibel from second to give RHIT a commanding 5-0 lead.

Watterson blasted a double over the centerfielder's head to score Bowman from first (walk), in the fifth and in the sixth, Ahlborn crushed a triple to the left center gap and then scored on a Martinek RBI up the middle to make it 7-1.

Ahlborn finished with two hits and three runs in the game and Bowman, Strain and Bender added singles for the Engineers.

Heibel allowed five hits, one walk and a run in 6 1/2 innings in the circle to pick up a complete game victory.

Rose-Hulman squares off with St. Vincent and Houghton in a pair of games on Tuesday, starting at 1 p.m.