ALLENTOWN, Pa. – The Franklin & Marshall softball team capped off its record-setting season with a sweep of the Centennial Conference's (CC) top team Muhlenberg on Saturday afternoon. The Diplomats took game one 3-2 before blanking the Mules 4-0 in the nightcap. F&M finished off its season at 25-14, 10-6 CC, while Muhlenberg fell to 23-11, 12-4 CC heading into CC playoffs.
In game one, Ashley Hartshorn got the top of the first inning started with a single up the middle, followed by a Malorie Sassaman single to center field. Next to the plate was Rachel Laufer, who also singled up the middle to give F&M its first run of the game and the lead at 1-0. After Laufer swiped second base, Sam DeNoville ripped a triple to right center to score Laufer and Sassaman and extend the Diplomats' lead to 3-0.
Despite the offense production in the first inning, Kelsey Jones, one of the CC's best pitchers, did not allow a run the rest of the game, however her counterpart, F&M's Justine Lohrey, was also stellar. The Mules cut into F&M's lead in the bottom of the first when Taylor Trifiolis doubled to right field to score Erica Wenzel and make it a 3-1 game.
Lohrey held Muhlenberg scoreless until the bottom of the sixth when Colleen O'Donnell singled to left field to score Trifiolis and cut the Diplomats' lead to one at 3-2. In the bottom of the seventh, the Mules did not threaten F&M as Lohrey struck out the final two batters to give the Diplomats a 3-2 win.
F&M's Lohrey (12-5) pitched well against the Conference's top team as she went seven innings and gave up two earned runs on seven hits while striking out three. Hartshorn, Sassaman, and DeNoville had two hits apiece.
Senior Kaitlin Zampino (7-8) was the story in the game two as she displayed her best pitching performance of the season, shutting out Muhlenberg and only giving up one hit, a two-out single from O'Donnell in the bottom of the second.
The Diplomats first got on the board in the top of the second when Caitlin Brust hit an RBI-ground to first to score DeNoville and give F&M a 1-0 advantage. Brust was at it again, this time in the top of the fourth when she roped a double to left field to plate Zampino, who had hit a double of her own earlier in the inning, to increase the lead to 2-0.
In the top of the fifth, Sassaman delivered a homerun to right center, her second of the year, to give the Diplomats a 3-0 lead. In the top of the seventh, DeNoville added an RBI-double for good measures to put F&M up 4-0 as the Diplomats went on to win by the same score.
Sassaman led the offense with a 3-for-4 game at the plate, while Laufer and DeNoville each added two.