Softball Receives Votes in Poll, Splits Twinbill

Thursday, March 14, 2013

In its first games since receiving votes in the national Division III poll, the Muhlenberg softball team split a doubleheader on a day that would not receive any votes for best weather of the season.

Taylor Trifiolis In cold, blustery conditions, the Mules defeated King’s, 9-6, in the first game to extend their school-record start to 9-0. The streak ended with a 5-2 loss in the nightcap.

Muhlenberg received six votes in the national poll after winning all eight of its games in Florida. The most noteworthy was an 8-7 defeat of Coe, which has a 13-1 record and is ranked 19th in the poll. The Mules had not appeared in the national rankings since the early 1990s.

As they did repeatedly in Florida, the Mules won the first game with timely hitting and patience at the plate. Freshman Taylor Trifiolis (left) delivered a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the first, and a second run scored later in the inning on a bases-loaded walk, one of three free passes Muhlenberg drew in the inning.

A leadoff walk to senior Jessica Costa was the catalyst for a five-run third, which featured RBI singles by junior Erica Wenzel and freshman Brittany Dzieciolowski and a run-scoring double by junior Colleen O’Donnell. Two runs scored on a dropped pop fly, giving the Mules a 7-0 lead.

The Monarchs (6-2) got six of the runs back in the top of the third, but Muhlenberg held on to its lead and extended it with two in the fourth, capped by Costa’s two-out RBI single.

Sophomore Kelsey Jones was masterful in every inning but the third, in which she allowed five of her six hits and all six runs. Jones struck out six and retired 11 of the last 12 hitters in becoming the first Mule hurler since 1989 to begin a season 5-0.

King’s, which won 29 games last year and was the preseason favorite in the Freedom Conference, jumped on top in the second game with three runs in the top of the first. Muhlenberg specialized in dramatic comebacks on its Spring Break trip but could not pull one off this time, plating only two unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth.

Junior Kelly Kline drove in the second run with a single (her fourth hit of the doubleheader) for her 90th career RBI.
Click here for line scores.
Click for complete stats: Game 1 | Game 2