Lexington, Ky. – The No. 12 ranked Transylvania softball team dove into the season opener of their 2018 slate with a thrilling split to end the day on Day One of the 2018 Pio Classic at Hall Field on Friday evening.
The Pioneers began their season with an afternoon game against the Calvin College Knights. The Knights came out victorious, blanking the Pioneers 3-0. Transylvania responded from a slow-scoring start to its Friday by posting a 2-1 extra inning victory against the Greenville University Panthers in the nightcap to forge a 1-1 record after their first day of official action on the 2018 calendar.
Despite being outhit by Transy six to four, the Knights were able to string together pivotal runs in key moments to pull off the 3-0 win against Transylvania.
The Knights mustered a critical inning in the bottom of the third, posting two runs after leading off the innings with back-to-back base hits and taking advantage of an infielding error by the Pioneers to take a 2-0 lead.
Transylvania continued to keep the bats swinging, but were plagued by innings two and five, stranding two runners in both frames. The Knights put the game out of reach with an insurance run in the bottom half of the fifth inning to form the 3-0 margin.
Senior pitcher Renae Morton took the loss in the opener after five innings of work. Junior shortstop Shelby Gambrell and junior outfielder Shelbi Poehlein each delivered multi-hit performances in the loss to Calvin with Poehlein tabbing a double.
Transylvania gathered six more hits in their second game of the day against Greenville, coming up with many of them in clutch moments.
Freshman pitcher Kameron Bowling started in the circle to record her first career start. The freshman worked four innings, ringing up four Panther batters while allowing Greenville's lone run of the game over that juncture.
As they did in their season opener earlier in the day versus Calvin, the Pioneers began the game against Greenville with promise as junior second baseman Brittany Mumford gathered a one-out double and junior infielder Meg Liter got aboard after being hit by a pitch. But three groundouts halted Transy's progress in the inning and the game continued scoreless through the first three innings.
In the top of the fourth inning, Greenville struck with a solo home run by Kate Rosado to take a 1-0 lead. The miscue by the Pioneers would be their only defensive blemish of the game as Transylvania held close with pinpoint pitching the rest of the way.
Greenville appeared to be headed to a slim victory as Panthers pitcher Meagan Stone quickly retired the first two batters she faced in the bottom of the seventh inning. With two down, senior outfielder Madison Dorsey hit a hard double into right field to give life to a rally. The night took a sharp turn for the dramatic when freshman outfielder Cece Wittry delivered a triple into right centerfield to drive home Dorsey for the tying run.
The game continued into the eighth inning and Morton entered the game to close out the Panthers. The senior held up her end of the bargain as she retired the side, two of which came via strikeouts.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, with the international tiebreaker rule in effect, Mumford stepped up to bat and simultaneously led off and ended the inning with a liner into centerfield to drive home Gambrell for a scintillating end to Transylvania's opening day.
Morton secured her first win of the season in relief, while Mumford went 2-for-3 against Greenville while playing the role of final offensive hero in the nightcap.
The Pioneers are off until Sunday afternoon at 12:00 noon, when they host Olivet College followed by a matchup with St. Mary's (Indiana) College to conclude the Pio Classic.
The three-day Pio Classic continues on Saturday with five games at Hall Field. The action begins at 8:00 a.m. as Calvin College takes on Olivet.
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