WESTMINSTER, Md. – Clutch hitting and a strong performance on the mound from its pitchers propelled the Franklin & Marshall softball team to a doubleheader sweep of McDaniel on Saturday afternoon in Centennial Conference (CC) action. The Diplomats (6-12, 2-4 CC) downed the Green Terror (11-9, 0-2 CC) 3-1 in the opening contest before cruising to a 7-2 victory in game two.
Starting pitcher Kaitlin Zampino dominated in the first contest, allowing one run on five hits and striking out four in a complete-game performance. However, the junior righthander's greatest feat of the game occurred in the batter's box where her single in the top of the sixth sent the game-winning run across the plate for F&M.
Down 1-0 heading into the sixth frame, Malorie Sassaman singled to load the bases with two outs. After Julianne Whitleigh was hit by a pitch to tie up the contest at 1-1, Zampino stepped into the box and knocked in Sam DeNoville from third for the go-ahead run. Sassaman also scored on the play, advancing to home on a throwing error by McDaniel's infield.
The Green Terror loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning with two outs but Zampino was able to work out the jam, forcing a pop up to Sassaman at short to retire the side and preserve the two-run lead. McDaniel went down in order in the seventh as the Diplomats held on for their first CC victory of the season.
F&M managed only two hits off of the Green Terror's starting pitcher Caroline Brehn (10-4), who earned the tough-luck loss after striking out 13 Diplomats in a complete-game effort. Brehn allowed only one walk but was wild at times, hitting four of F&M's batters.
After her stellar play in the opening contest, Zampino was again called upon to patrol the mound for the Diplomats in game two. She answered by going five innings without allowing an earned run to pick up her second win of the afternoon and improve to 3-7 on the year. Justine Lohrey entered in the top of the sixth in relief and produced two shutout innings to close out the game.
Zampino was granted ample run support in the contest as F&M scored runs in each of the first four innings. In the top of the first, Sassaman got the scoring started with a single to left field that sent Hartshorn home from second.
McDaniel tied up the game in the bottom of the frame before the Diplomats responded with two runs in the second to take the 3-1 advantage.
F&M extended the lead to five in the top of the third when Nicole Casey doubled to center with two outs, scoring Sassaman from first and DeNoville from second. The Diplomats tacked on two more in the following inning off of a single from Whitleigh that again scored DeNoville, followed by a passed ball later in the frame that scored Whitleigh from third.
Down 7-1 in the bottom of the fourth, the Green Terror chipped away at the lead by scoring a run on two hits and an error on F&M's infield to pull within five at 7-2.
However, the Diplomats held McDaniel scoreless over the next three innings to preserve the five-run victory and cap off the sweep.
Seven F&M batters registered a hit as the team combined for nine in the game. Hartshorn and Casey paced the offense as each went 2-for-4 at the plate. DeNoville drew a pair of walks and scored two runs for the Diplomats.
F&M returns to action on Tuesday, facing off against Lebanon Valley in non-conference play. The opening game of the doubleheader is slated for a 3:00 p.m. start.