Transylvania splits with Mount St. Joseph to close out first-place HCAC run

Cece fielding

Lexington, Ky. – The Transylvania softball team completed its Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference regular season ledger with a doubleheader split against the Mount St. Joseph University Lions on Sunday afternoon at Hall Field.

After the Lions nipped the Pioneers' six-game win streak in the first of the day with a 5-4 win, the Pioneers bounced back in the second game, winning 8-1 behind a team effort from freshmen pitchers Kameron Bowling and Jessica Gunter, and an explosive five-run fifth inning by the Pios.

With the 1-1 Sunday showing, the Pioneers completed their HCAC run in 2018 at 14-2, finishing off their first-place campaign. Transylvania's record now stands at 28-6 on the year.

The Lions completed an 11-5 run in HCAC conference play to finish in a second-place tie with Franklin and moved to 22-12 overall on the year.

In game one, the Pioneers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the third inning on back-to-back RBI singles from catcher Janelle Hynes and designated player Jessica Powell. Mount St. Joseph turned the tide in the fourth inning as the Lions' Gracie Woodyard hit a three-run home run to grab a 3-2 lead against the Pioneers.

Mount St. Joseph's three-run inning ended a string for senior pitcher Renae Morton of 51 consecutive innings pitched without allowing a run. The Lions tacked on two more runs in the fifth inning on a frenzied play at the plate for a 5-2 lead.

Junior infielder Meg Liter led off the sixth inning for Transy with a powerfully-hit home run to left field to cut the Lions' lead to two runs, and freshman infielder Cece Wittry drove in senior outfielder Destiny Garcia to slice the Mount St. Joseph advantage to 5-4. But the Pioneers were unable to find the tying run and the Lions became just the second HCAC team to beat Transylvania this season.

Morton took the loss, dropping her record to 15-4; the senior rang up nine hitters while allowing just one walk and two earned runs.

The Pioneers shook off the game one loss in stride, building a 3-0 lead over the first three innings in game two behind a two-run triple by Wittry in the second inning and an RBI from Liter in the third.

Gunter teamed up with her fellow freshman Bowling to work the full seven innings and hold Mount St. Joseph to just one run. Gunter retired 12 of 17 batters in an efficient performance for her fifth win of the season while Bowling collected her second save of the season as she struck out four.

Transylvania put the game to rest in the fifth inning with a potent offensive display. After the Lions scored in the fourth inning to cut Transylvania's lead to 3-1, junior outfielder Shelby Gambrell rebuilt the lead with an RBI base hit to score Wittry.

Later in the inning, the Pioneers had three consecutive hits, all leading to RBI as junior outfielder Shelbi Poehlein, Hynes, and sophomore infielder Laurel Major all drove in runs.

The Pioneers put up 10 hits in game two, led by multi-hit games from Gambrell, Liter, Poehlein, and Major.

Transylvania has one doubleheader set remaining in its regular-season schedule as the Pioneers host nonconference foe Ohio Northern University at Hall Field on Monday, April 30. First pitch of the doubleheader is set for 4:30 p.m.

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