Clermont, Fla. – The Transylvania softball team ended its spring break trip to the PFX Games on a dramatic note, defeating the Western New England University Golden Bears and University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Blugolds by identical scores of 5-1 on Saturday afternoon.
Each Saturday victory was marked by go-ahead grand slams in the seventh inning that saw a pair of Pioneers heroes deliver the winning blow.
In Saturday's opener against Western New England, senior outfielder Madison Dorsey broke a 1-1 tie in the top of the seventh inning with a one-out grand slam to lift the Pioneers to a 5-1 victory.
Not to be outdone in the Pioneers' final game in the Sunshine State, freshman infielder CeCe Wittry sent the Pioneers to the airport with a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the fifth inning against Eau Claire, capping off a five-run inning, the Pioneers' first scoring inning of the game against the Blugolds.
With the two scintillating endings, Transylvania elevated its record to 12-4 on the year and 10-2 for the week down in Florida.
Saturday's opener against Western New England featured plenty of hitting for the Pioneers, but the finishing blow lay in wait until the final inning. Freshman pitcher Jessica Gunter started in the circle and went five consistent innings, yielding the lone run of the game while gathering two strikeouts and giving up four hits.
The Golden Bears scored their lone run in the bottom of the second inning before Transy quickly tied things up as Wittry took advantage of a throwing error to come all the way from first base after stealing second.
In the top of the seventh inning, junior infielder Brittany Mumford drew a walk and junior outfielder Shelbi Poehlein got on base with a single into left field. Junior infielder Meg Liter followed with an infield single to load the bases with one out.
With the bases loaded, Dorsey stepped up and hammered a grand slam to seize a suddenly massive 5-1 lead for the Pioneers.
Senior pitcher Renae Morton closed out the game in relief, striking out the side in the bottom half of the inning for her sixth win of the season.
Dorsey's grand slam highlighted a 3-for-4 game at the plate, compiling three of Transylvania's eight hits.
In the final game against Wisconsin Eau-Claire, early-inning scoring was just as rare for both teams. Freshman pitcher Kameron Bowling started the game strong, striking out two of three batters in the top of the first inning.
The Blugolds took control in the second inning with a two-out solo home run by Carlie Christensen to grab a 1-0 lead against the Pioneers.
Much like the first game, the opposition held a one-run lead that lasted inning after inning. The Pioneers were able to place just three baserunners aboard over the next four innings as a 1-0 advantage held firm for Eau Claire.
But Bowling worked five strong innings, adding six strikeouts along the way while the second-inning home run served as the only run allowed to Eau Claire. The Pioneers stayed within striking distance of Eau Claire, which finally paid off in the bottom of the seventh.
Transylvania began a one-out rally as Saturday's game one hero Dorsey drew a walk. Junior infielder Jessica Powell moved Dorsey over to third with a double and Liter was intentionally walked to load the bases.
The Pioneers veered into a precarious position as sophomore designated player Sydney Motell grounded out and Dorsey was thrown out at home for the potential tying run.
But one out away from defeat and with the bases still loaded, freshman pinch hitter Taylor Campbell was hit by a pitch to score Transy's first run of the game and create a 1-1 score.
With newfound momentum, Wittry stepped up to bat and blasted a week and game-ending grand slam to punctuate a memorable comeback for the Pioneers.
Transylvania now heads back north and enjoys a weeklong respite before hosting the Centre College Colonels on Sunday, March 25 at Hall Field. The home doubleheader is scheduled for a 5:00 p.m. start.
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