Transylvania softball wins third consecutive HCAC regular season title

Conference Champions graphic

Lexington, Ky. – The Transylvania softball team clinched its third straight Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference regular-season title on Saturday afternoon at Hall Field, sweeping the Manchester University Spartans 6-0 and 11-4 in a conference doubleheader.

Senior pitcher Renae Morton made her Senior Day one to remember, registering her sixth consecutive shutout in the afternoon opener. Morton carried a no-hit bid into the seventh inning before Manchester discovered its first hit of the day.

In the second game, the Pioneers overwhelmed the Spartans with an eight-run fourth inning to pull away from the Spartans and move to 27-5 on the season, and 13-1 in conference play.

By securing its 13th conference win, the Pioneers clinched their third straight regular-season championship after sharing the title with Anderson last year and winning it outright in 2016 with a 14-win campaign.

The pair of victories on Saturday for the Pioneers grew their winning streak to six games and certified their 17th win over the last 18 games.

After the Pioneers began the afternoon by honoring their three seniors in Morton and outfielders Destiny Garcia and Madison Dorsey, the Pioneers went right to work against the Spartans. Junior designated player Jessica Powell drove in junior infielder Brittany Mumford for the first run of the game in the bottom of the first inning, and freshman infielder Sam Simons scored both Powell and junior infielder Meg Liter on a single into the outfield for a 3-0 Transylvania advantage.

On defense, Morton unleashed her full repertoire against Spartans, striking out 12 for the afternoon, including two different innings in which she struck out the side. Morton did not allow a hit until the first at-bat of the seventh inning, and yielded one walk for the afternoon.

The performance marked Morton's sixth straight shutout as her record grew to 15-3 on the season. The senior has now gone 48.1 consecutive innings without allowing a run.

Powell, Dorsey, and sophomore catcher Janelle Hynes each powered two hits in the game one win.

In game two, the Pioneers gradually built a comfortable 3-0 lead after three innings before turning the game upside down in the fourth. The first three hitters of the fourth inning for Transylvania reached base before an out was recorded. Liter drove in junior outfielder Shelby Gambrell on an RBI groundout to raise Transylvania's advantage to 4-0.

Junior outfielder Shelbi Poehlein then followed with a hard-hit ball to left field to score two runners, building Transylvania's lead to 6-0. After Simons popped out for the second out of the inning, the Pioneers piled on five more runs to see an 11-0 advantage after four innings.

While the Pioneers would not score again and the Spartans bounced back with a four-run output in the top of the fifth inning, freshman pitcher Jessica Gunter teamed with juniors Jordan Kramer and Tayler Thompson to hold the Spartans scoreless the rest of the way.

Gunter picked up her fourth win of the season to improve her record to 4-0. Transylvania outhit Manchester 13-11 in game two as Poehlein and Simons each had doubles, while Mumford added a triple, two walks, and two RBI.

With another conference championship in hand, the Pioneers will close out their HCAC regular season ledger tomorrow at 1:00 p.m., as they host the Mount St. Joseph University Lions at Hall Field in a conference doubleheader.

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