ANNVILLE, Pa. – The Franklin & Marshall softball team fell in a pair of non-conference games to Lebanon Valley on Tuesday afternoon. The Diplomats (6-14) struggled to generate offense in a 6-0 loss to open the doubleheader, before the Dutchmen (17-3) outlasted F&M 10-9 in the second contest.
The Diplomats fell behind by a score of 1-0 in the first inning before Lebanon Valley tacked on one-run frames in both the third and fourth to pull ahead 3-0. A four-hit, three-run inning in the bottom of the fourth padded the Dutchmen's lead and put the score out of reach at 6-0.
Amanda Schellaci picked up F&M's first hit of the contest, a single to third base with two outs in the sixth. Danielle Murphy stepped into the box and laced a single down the right field line to advance Schellaci to second. However, the Dutchmen retired the side in F&M's next at bat with a grounder to second.
Kaitlin Zampino (3-8) was charged with the loss after giving up four earned and striking out four batters in six innings of work. Haley Neff (4-0) was solid on the mound for Lebanon Valley, striking out four batters in seven scoreless innings.
Down by a score of 1-0 in game two, the Diplomats exploded for five runs in the top of the second to take the 5-1 advantage. Schellaci got the scoring started for F&M, singling to right field with the bases loaded to send Julianne Whitleigh and Malorie Sassaman across the plate.
Later in the frame, Nicole Casey stepped to the plate with the bases juiced once again and picked up a walk to score Schellaci from third. DeNoville wrapped up the five-run frame with a two RBI single that scored Sarah Kirk and Murphy.
The Diplomats extended their lead to six at 7-1 with a two-run top of the fourth. The Dutchmen began to fight back in the bottom of the frame, tallying four runs on four hits to cut F&M's advantage to 7-5.
After the Diplomats went down in order in the top of the fifth, Lebanon Valley continued its offensive success from the previous frame with another four-run inning to take the 9-7 lead. Casey got F&M back on track in the sixth with her third RBI of the day, a single through the left side to score Murphy from second and pull the Diplomats within one at 9-8.
The Dutchmen answered again with a run in the bottom of the inning to push the lead to two at 10-8. Back-to-back singles from Sassaman and Ashley Hartshorn to open up the top of the seventh breathed life into F&M as the Diplomats attempted to climb out of a two-run hole.
With the game-tying run at first base, Rachel Laufer stepped into the box with one out and hit a ground ball to second base that scored Sassaman from third. However, F&M's rally was cut short when the Diplomats next batter was retired to end the game.
Casey paced the F&M offense by reaching base four times off of two walks and a pair of singles in a 2-for-2 effort at the plate. Sassaman went 2-for-4 and scored two runs in the contest.
Justine Lohrey (3-6) picked up the loss after allowing nine earned in six innings.
F&M returns to the field on Thursday to face off against York in non-conference action. Game one of the doubleheader is scheduled to begin at 3:00 p.m.