Winning in the city of Columbus, Ohio is particularly meaningful for several members of the Hillsdale College softball program. Which made Sunday's sweep a sweet moment in a season already full of them.
The Chargers combined terrific pitching with timely hitting in a decisive 7-1, 8-0 sweep of Ohio Dominican University Sunday afternoon in Columbus. It was the first time Hillsdale has taken both ends of a road doubleheader over ODU in Columbus since the Panthers joined the GLIAC prior to the 2011 season.
Hillsdale is now 14-6 overall and 9-3 in the GLIAC. This represents Hillsdale's best 20-game record since 1991.
In Sunday's two games, the Chargers outhit the Panthers 23-10 while surrendering exactly zero earned runs and issuing zero walks in the two games. It was as complete a performance as coach Joe Abraham, a Columbus native, could hope for.
The first four hitters notched hits to open game one as Hillsdale jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead. Ainsley Ellison got it started with a single. Senior Sarah Grunert followed with the first of her two doubles in the contest. Junior Bekah Kastning drove home the game's first run with a fast-moving single up the middle. Junior Cassie Asselta followed with a run-scoring single, setting the tone for the day.
Grunert not only went 2-for-4 with a run batted in and a run scored, but earned her eighth win of the season, allowing no earned runs with five strikeouts and no walks. She now occupies ninth place on Hillsdale's career hits and doubles list.
Sophomore Kelsey Gockman had a huge day and it started with her 3-RBI performance in the opener. She keyed a four-run seventh inning with a two-run triple that scored Asselta and freshman Amanda Marra.
In game two, senior Sarah Klopfer spun a four-hit shutout on the mound, striking out one with no walks allowed. It was Klopfer's first complete-game shutout of the season.
Offensively, eight of the nine batters in the starting lineup picked up hits for Hillsdale. Marra hammered two doubles, going 3-for-3 with 3 RBI. Asselta, Gockman and Kastning also picked up doubles, while Ellison was 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
The game ended in the bottom of the sixth when the NCAA's mercy rule was reached when Marra's third hit, and second double of the game, brought home Kastning to create an eight-run lead after the fifth inning, which ended the game.
UP NEXT: Hillsdale faces Malone University in Canton Tuesday starting at 3:30 p.m.
PHOTO CREDIT: Kadie Lowery