Franklin, Ind. – It was a low-scoring day of pitching excellence as the Transylvania softball team split a Wednesday afternoon doubleheader with the Franklin College Grizzlies at Behrens Field.
In the first game of the day, the Pioneers took a 2-0 loss in a surefire pitchers' duel as they received their first conference loss of the year. In the nightcap, Transylvania responded with 1-0 victory to improve to 5-1 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play, and 19-8 overall.
After the Pioneers were no-hit in the first game of the day, the Pioneers rebounded to outhit Franklin 6 to 3 in game two. Wednesday's early conference season meeting between the Grizzlies and Pioneers pitted a matchup of the two current top teams in the HCAC standings, with the Grizzlies moving to 3-1 after the doubleheader split.
The first game of the afternoon featured a matchup of two of the top pitchers in the HCAC, junior pitcher Renae Morton of the Pioneers and Olivia Paszek of the Grizzlies. Both pitchers carried a top-four earned-run average into the game and also ranked first and second in conference in total strikeouts.
Unsurprisingly, both pitchers were tough to solve for the respective battery. The first hit of the game wasn't discovered until the bottom of the third inning when the Grizzlies crafted a one-out single against the Pioneers to end a combined no-hitting afternoon for Morton and Paszek.
Morton and the Pioneers appeared ready to end the third inning after a groundout, but an infield error by the Pioneers provided the Grizzlies with their first run of the game. Franklin came up with an RBI double on the following at-bat to score its second run of the game, which proved to be the final scoring of the first game.
Morton took the complete-game loss with six innings of the work and no earned runs allowed. The junior tallied five strikeouts against one walk and five hits, while Paszek tallied one strikeouts on the way to celebrating her no-hitter.
Sophomore pitcher Jordan Kramer took the circle for the Pioneers to begin game two, and followed admirably in the footsteps of Morton's game one performance. Kramer went 4.2 innings of work, grabbing three strikeouts against the Grizzlies. Morton checked back in for relief and completed the final 2.1 innings as she and Kramer teamed up for five strikeouts and seven total innings of shutout ball.
The Pioneers found their first two hits of Wednesday in the first inning of game two as freshman catcher Janelle Hynes smacked a one-out single, and sophomore infielder Brittany Mumford cranked a triple into right center field. While the Pioneers couldn't create a run in the first inning, their production was a sign of things to come.
Kramer allowed just two baserunners over the first three innings before the Pioneers had their magic moment in the top of the fourth. After senior infielder Shelby Bailey led off the fourth inning with a single into the outfield, designated player Sydney Motell powered a double that allowed Bailey to sprint all the way home for the 1-0 lead and the only run of the game.
Kramer retired the side in the bottom half of the fourth inning and knocked out the first two batters of the fifth inning before Franklin collected a two-out double. Morton then came in to shut down Franklin the rest of the way and garner a save.
Mumford led the Pioneers with a 2-for-3 day at the plate and a walk.
The Pioneers are back in the bluegrass on Saturday as they host Defiance College at Asbury University's Kirkland Complex in Wilmore, Kentucky. The Pioneers square off with the Yellow Jackets in a 1:00 p.m. doubleheader.
For more on Transylvania softball, follow @TransySports on Twitter