FRANKLIN, Ind. – The Franklin College softball team made it three straight wins on Friday (Apr. 13) afternoon, sweeping a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) twin bill against Bluffton University at Behrens Field.
The Grizzlies (19-5, 6-2 HCAC) erupted for a four-run sixth inning in game one that proved to be the difference in a 5-1 win. Another big inning proved to be the catalyst for game two's win, as Franklin plated eight runs in the fourth on their way to a 9-0 win over the Beavers (7-18, 2-6 HCAC) in five innings.
For the second straight double-header, the Grizzly pitching staff flexed their muscles with two shutdown performances against a potent Bluffton offense. Olivia Paszek and Kayla Selzer combined to yield just seven over 12 innings of play on Friday.
Game One: Franklin 5 – Bluffton 1
Bluffton plated their lone run of the day in the top of the first but the Grizzlies would erase the early deficit when a throwing error allowed Monica Collins to score in the bottom of the first to tie the game.
Franklin would manage just two hits over the next four innings and sat tied heading into the sixth. Two batters into the inning, Franklin had the lead for the first time Friday when Alexis Tarver doubled home Lexi Gaffney. Two batters later, the lead stretched to three when a Bluffton throwing error allowed two more runners to score. Danielle Wyse would close out the scoring with a two-out RBI single, plating Shelby Mager.
Olivia Paszek (11-1) was brilliant in the circle, allowing four hits and striking out 10 batters. It was the second straight double-digit strikeout game for the Franklin-native and third game with at least 10 punch-outs this year.
Game Two: Franklin 9 – Bluffton 0 (5 inn.)
Natalie Weber got the Grizzlies on the board in the bottom of the first, bringing home Gaffney with a sacrifice fly. Two scoreless innings would follow for the Grizzlies before the offense put the game out of reach in the fourth.
Grace Paszek doubled the FC lead two batters into the fourth, scoring Justice Carmichael with an RBI double. Lauren Huebler would take over as a pinch runner and score after back-to-back wild pitches.
Collins would add an RBI single later in the inning and Gaffney would follow with a sac fly to make it 5-0. Tarver would add two more to the score with a long home run and two batters later, Carmichael launched a two-run blast of her own over the center field wall for her first career round-tripper.
It proved to be plenty of support for Selzer (8-3), who allowed three hits and struck out one on her way to a second consecutive shutout.
The Grizzlies look to keep it rolling on Wednesday (Apr. 18), when they head north for a pair of games against the Anderson Ravens. First pitch from Anderson, Ind. is set for 3:30 p.m.