8-0! Softball Finishes Florida Trip with Perfect Record

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Women’s lacrosse Men’s lacrosse

Junior Kelly Kline is approaching the Muhlenberg softball RBI record. But when Finlandia took the bat out of her hands, it enabled another player to put her name in the record book.

Junior Erica Wenzel hit a grand slam following an intentional walk to Kline in the seventh inning of the Mules’ final game in Florida, capping off a record-tying six-RBI game in a 10-2 win that completed an undefeated Spring Break trip.

Muhlenberg scored twice in the bottom of the eighth to beat Thiel, 11-10, in its opening game before posting a more comfortable margin of victory against Finlandia. The Mules went a perfect 8-0 in Florida, setting a school record for most wins at the start of a season.

Erica Wenzel “We’re all feeling great,” said Wenzel (left). “But even though we won all our games, we saw there are things we need to work on. We’re not perfect by any means.”

The Mules certainly don’t need to work on their ability to win in dramatic fashion. Five of the eight wins came in their final at-bat, including three in extra innings and three on walkoffs. Against Thiel, Muhlenberg came back from deficits of 2-0, 5-2 and 10-9, the latter coming when the Tomcats scored in the top of the eighth.

Starting the bottom of the eighth with a runner on second, the Mules loaded the bases on a single by freshman Amie DeFeo – her first career hit – and a walk. Consecutive singles by senior Devon Barber and junior Chelsea Benjamin brought in the tying and winning runs.

Barber scored three runs in the game, and freshman Taylor Trifiolis drove in three.

Muhlenberg didn’t need to come back against Finlandia, partly because of an efficient offense that plated at least one run in six of the seven innings, but mostly because of the brilliant pitching of sophomore Kelsey Jones, who tossed a one-hitter with four strikeouts. Both of the runs she allowed were unearned.

The Mules led 6-2 and were three outs away from a win when they came to bat in the top of the seventh. A single by DeFeo and a double by Benjamin put runners on second and third with one out. Rather than pitch to Kline, who is four RBI away from Muhlenberg’s career record, the Lions walked her intentionally and decided to take their chances with Wenzel.

The move backfired, as Wenzel belted her third career home run, her first grand slam “since I was a little kid.” Combined with an RBI single in the first and a run-scoring double in the fourth, it gave her six RBI in the game, tying a school record achieved four times previously.

Hitting in the cleanup spot is new for Wenzel, who hit second in the order for most of her first two years with the Mules. Instead of setting the table, she is being called on to drive in runs, especially if teams start to shy away from Kline.

“I’m starting to see myself that way,” she said. “My main goal is to make contact, hit the ball and do what needs to be done. If that means driving in runs, then that’s what I’ll do.”

Wenzel drove in 10 runs during the Mules’ eight-game trip and was one of three players to average more than an RBI per game, along with Kline (13) and Benjamin (10). The Muhlenberg offense averaged more than eight runs in its eight wins, which helped contribute to the feeling that it was never really out of a game.

“It’s a great start to the season,” said Wenzel. “We’re looking to take this momentum into the rest of the season when we come home.”
Click here for line scores.
Click for complete stats: Thiel game | Finlandia game