The University of Findlay softball team opened up the 2017 season on Saturday, February 11 in Louisville, Kentucky with a pair of victories. In the first game, the Oilers needed extras innings for a 7-4 victory over Kentucky Wesleyan College. The Oilers followed the victory up with another extra inning 8-4 win against Bellarmine University. The Oilers are 2-0 on the season.
The Oilers fell behind early in the first game, but the bats were able to come alive late. Findlay scored one run or more in the final four innings and the defense did not allow a hit over the final three innings to come away with a 7-4 victory in the first game of the 2017 season.
Kentucky Wesleyan took an early lead in the bottom of the second inning behind three hits that scored two runs. Findlay was able to cut the deficit in the third inning with a RBI walk from senior Lauren Trumpler, following two straight walks and an error.
In the top of the fifth inning, junior Madison Arnold hit her first career home run to tie the game 2-2. The Panthers tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the fifth to regain the lead 4-2 heading into the sixth.
Trumpler and sophomore Salwa Al-Hajabed singled to begin the sixth. With two outs, junior Destinie Keeton came through with an RBI single to trail 4-3. The Oilers knotted up the scoreboard in the top of the seventh to force extra innings. Arnold led off the inning with a single and then stole second. With two outs, junior Meredith Shepherd singled to score Arnold and force extras.
In the eighth inning, Findlay continued to do damage with two outs. Keeton singled to score one run and junior Kelley Cejer followed that up with single of her own that scored two runs. The Oilers defense was able to hold for a 7-4 victory.
Jenna Inman got the start on the mound for the Oilers, but Morgan James (1-0) picked up the win. Inman pitched 4.2 innings, giving up four runs on six hits with three strikeouts. James pitched the remaining 3.1 innings, allowing only one hit over that span.
Keeton ended the game 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Arnold and Trumpler both finished the game 2-for-3 at the plate.
In the second game of the day, Keeton started off the game with a leadoff solo home run, the fourth of her career. The Oilers tacked on another run in the second with another solo home run to take a 2-0 lead. This time it was off the bat of Arnold, her second on the season.
Findlay surrendered three runs in the bottom of the third to trail 3-2, but they were able to tie the game in the top of the seventh to force extra innings. Cejer and Arnold started off the inning with back-to-back singles. Freshman Madison Mollette came in to pinch run for Cejer and she came around the bases on an RBI sacrifice bunt by senior Jenna Huff.
With a runner on second in the top of the eighth, junior Cassidy Ghesquiere drew a walk and Trumpler singled to load the bases with no outs. Sophomore Breanna Cleland provided the go-ahead run with an RBI single. Findlay added a couple of insurance runs after an RBI double by Cejer and a RBI single by Arnold. Before the inning would end, a fielding error allowed two more runs to score for Findlay to take an 8-3 lead.
Bellarmine added one run in the bottom inning for a final score of 8-4.
Sophomore Hailey Bryan (1-0) picked up the victory for the Oilers. She pitched a complete game giving up one earned run on eight hits with three strikeouts.
At the plate Findlay was led by Arnold who went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and Cejer who finished 2-for-3 with an RBI.
The Oilers return to the field on Sunday, February 12 with games against Kentucky Wesleyan and Bellarmine. The first pitch is scheduled for 11:00 a.m.