FRANKLIN, Ind. – The Franklin College softball team stepped out of conference play on Tuesday (Apr. 16) afternoon, hosting St. Mary's College (Ind.) for the first of eight straight games at Behrens Field.
Game one was a back-and-forth affair that saw the Grizzlies head to extra innings for the first time this year in a 6-4 St. Mary's win. In the night cap, Natalie Weber belted a go-ahead home run in the bottom of the fifth inning as Franklin held off the Belles and earn a split with a 3-2 win.
Game One: St. Mary's 6 – Franklin 4 (8 inn.)
The Belles opened the game with three straight singles off Franklin starter Kayla Selzer that led to the game's opening run. Justice Carmichael brought the Grizzlies back to even in the bottom of the second, leading off the inning with a towering home run, her team-leading fifth of the season.
Two innings later, Franklin claimed their first lead of the afternoon when Alisha Burch came in to pinch hit with two on and two out. The sophomore made good on her appearance, ripping a single back up the middle for her first hit of the year that score Carmichael and make it a 2-1 game. St. Mary's tied the game with a run in the fifth, but Weber restored Franklin's one-run lead in the bottom of the inning, bringing in Lexi Gaffney with a single to right field.
But the Belles plated a run in the sixth and after the seventh settled nothing, the teams went to extras. St. Mary's took advantage of their trip to the plate, scoring three times in the eighth and holding off a Grizzly rally in the bottom of the inning to earn the win.
Selzer scattered three hits and allowed three earned runs over six innings of work before turning the circle over to Danielle Wyse (1-1), who fanned four over two innings in relief.
Game Two: Franklin 3 – St. Mary's 2
The Belles capitalized on a Grizzly error in the top of the second, plating two unearned runs to snatch the early advantage. Franklin took advantage of a Belles error in the bottom of the inning with Justice Carmichael coming in to score and cut the deficit to 2-1.
One inning later, the Grizzlies used a healthy dose of small ball to draw even. Gaffney led off the inning with a single, stole second, advanced to third on a ground out and scored on Sydney Logsdon's ground out to second. Both offenses stayed silent until the bottom of the fifth, when Weber stepped in with two outs and launched a pitch over the wall in left-center for her third home run of the year for the go-ahead run.
Burch (6-5) worked out of jams in both the sixth and seventh innings to seal the win for Franklin, scattering eight hits while allowing two unearned runs and striking out two.
Franklin continues their homestand on Saturday (Apr. 20), welcoming Manchester University to town for two HCAC contests. It will also be Senior Day at Behrens Field, with the program's four seniors being honored before game one. First pitch of game one is set for 1:00 p.m.