Lexington, Ky. – The Transylvania softball team debuted on its home stage at the 2018 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament with a 5-2 win against the Defiance College Yellow Jackets Friday afternoon at Hall Field.
The tournament-opening win advances the Pioneers into the winners' bracket where they will take on the No. 3 seed Mount St. Joseph Lions tomorrow at 11:00 a.m.
Playing host to the HCAC Tournament for the first time in two seasons, the Pioneers appeared comfortable and cohesive at Hall Field as they made the most of their No. 1 seed and subsequent tournament hosting opportunities for the weekend.
The Pioneers began their weekend in winning fashion as their bats fired up in the middle innings of the game to deliver them to victory. Transy scored three runs in the third and two more in the fifth to cruise ahead to the finish line.
Senior pitcher Renae Morton produced a gem to begin her final postseason voyage, striking out 10 batters and allowing three hits on the day. The senior did not allow a run to score over the first six innings of the afternoon.
After three quality innings of shutout ball from Morton, the Pioneers were the first to ignite the scoreboard in the bottom of the third inning. Freshman infielder Cece Wittry got aboard after Defiance's second baseman dropped a pop fly, allowing Wittry to advance to second base. Junior outfielder Shelby Gambrell made the Yellow Jackets pay for their miscue, following with a hard-hit single up the middle to score Wittry.
Poehlein put an exclamation point upon the inning with a two-run homer to deep left center as the Pioneers surged forward, 3-0.
The Pioneers threatened again in the following inning but exited the frame with the bases loaded. Still, Transylvania continued to place runners aboard with consistency, a trend which continued into the fifth inning.
Transylvania tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the fifth as Hynes came up with a two-out triple to score Poehlein, raising Transy's advantage to 4-0. Sophomore infielder Laurel Major drove in Hynes on the next at-bat for the Pioneers' final run.
Defiance scored twice in the final inning on an RBI double, but Morton retired the final two batters to secure the win for the Pioneers.
Transy tallied eight hits on the day to three by the No. 4 seed Yellow Jackets, who were playing their second game on Friday after prevailing over No. 5 seed Manchester.
With a potential win on Saturday morning, the Pioneers would advance forward to the HCAC Softball Championship game on Sunday, March 6, currently scheduled for 12:00 p.m.
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