Softball Sweeps McDaniel to Remain in First

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Track & field Tennis, baseball, lacrosse

Colleen O’Donnell said she couldn’t see how close the play at the plate was on her game-winning hit because the McDaniel pitcher was in her way.

Colleen O'Donnell That McDaniel hurler, reigning Centennial Conference pitcher of the year Caroline Brehm, was in the way for the Muhlenberg softball team for most of the doubleheader, allowing only five hits. But the Mules made the most of their few hits and took advantage of Brehm’s wildness to sweep the twinbill, 5-2 and 4-3 in 10 innings.

The two wins, both of which came in comeback fashion, kept Muhlenberg (18-5-1, 8-2) atop the CC standings (tied with 4-2 Haverford in the loss column) with three doubleheaders remaining.

“We’re a little more than halfway through our season,” said O’Donnell (right). “These wins put us in a good place going forward.”

Muhlenberg wasn’t in a good place a little more than halfway through the first game. McDaniel (12-12, 1-5) scored single runs in each of the first two innings, and the Mules had their first 12 batters retired, seven on strikeouts.

Then freshman Brittany Dzieciolowski led off the fifth with an impressive home run into a strong wind blowing in from left, turning the tide of the game. With two outs in the inning (one on a caught stealing after a hit by pitch), senior Devon Barber walked and went to second when O’Donnell was hit by a pitch. The two then pulled off a double steal, with Barber scoring the tying run when the catcher’s throw went errant.

Three more walks followed, with the last bringing in O’Donnell with the go-ahead run. Junior Kelly Kline capped the rally with a two-run single, Muhlenberg’s second – and last – hit of the game.

The Green Terror got two runners on in the sixth, but sophomore Kelsey Jones retired the final four hitters to finish off her 10th win of the season.

The Mule offense started slowly again in the second game, going hitless until the bottom of the sixth. Muhlenberg was an out away from a loss before scoring the tying run without the benefit of a hit, on two walks, a sacrifice, a stolen base and an error.

Muhlenberg had a good chance to win in the bottom of the ninth, loading the bases with one out, but a strikeout and a flyout sent the game to the 10th and international tiebreaker rules.

McDaniel scored twice in the top of the 10th to take a 3-1 lead. It was the third time this year that the Mules fell behind in the top of an extra inning, and all three times they came back to win.

“We never quit. We just stay confident and know that someone will pull through,“ said O’Donnell.

This time it was O’Donnell who pulled through. Starting with a runner on second, Muhlenberg loaded the bases with one out on a hit by pitch and walk to Barber. On a 1-2 pitch, O’Donnell hit a drive to the left-field corner. Barber came all the way around with the winning run, sliding in just ahead of the tag.

“I was just trying to take it one pitch at a time and not put too much pressure on myself,” said O’Donnell. “Staying focused is definitely the hardest part.”

The walkoff hit made a winner again of Jones, who allowed only six hits and one earned run while striking out seven in 10 innings. It was her second 10-inning complete game of the week, and she pitched two complete games on the same day for the first time as a Mule.

Muhlenberg set a school record with its fifth extra-inning win of the season and is 5-0-1 in extra-inning games.
Click here for line scores.
Click for complete stats: Game 1 | Game 2