CLERMONT, Fla. – Franklin & Marshall's softball team came out strong on the second day of action down in Florida, first defeating Northwestern (Minn.) by a 2-1 score and then taking down Smith 8-2. The Diplomats improved to 3-1 on the year.
Game 1: F&M 2, NU 1 – (7 Innings)
The Diplomats started the day strong as Jamie Belfer led off with a single through the right side to start the game. Sam Martin immediately followed with her first collegiate homer to give F&M the 2-0 edge.
The Eagles responded with a solo home run to start the bottom of the second inning to come within one.
Northwestern threatened in the third, getting a runner on third with two outs, but Sabrina Ryan came up with the strikeout to close out the inning with F&M still on top.
The Diplomats looked to get one more score in the seventh when Caitlyn Erdman stole second to get in scoring position but were unable to get anyone across the plate. The defense held out in the bottom of the seventh for a quick three and out to finish the game.
Martin and Abi Buell paced the offense with two hits apiece to help F&M to a 6-4 advantage from the plate.
Ryan (2-0) earned the win after delivering a career-high 10 strikeouts in seven innings pitched. Northwestern's Lexi Kopacek (2-2) took the loss after a three-strikeout performance.
Game 2: F&M 8, Smith 2 – (7 Innings)
F&M's offense kept the pressure in the second game of the day as they opened the game with two hits to get the bases loaded with no outs. Lexi Piccinich delivered the sacrifice fly to send Belfer home and get F&M on the board. Martin was next to cross the plate, taking advantage of a passed ball to take home. Buell then tallied an RBI single to increase the lead to 3-0 at the end of the first.
Smith responded in the second, scoring one run off two hits and a sacrifice fly to get on the board.
The Diplomats offense exploded in the third, scoring four runs off three hits. An RBI single from Piccinich sent Martin home for the first run of the inning while Ella Glenn recorded a single to left field to fill the bases with one out. Taylor Hudson followed with a single up the middle to advance the runners and send Jenna Mindrebo home. Back-to-back walks from Gabby Goodwin and Belfer tacked on the final two scores to extend F&M's lead to 7-1.
The Pioneers looked to take back the momentum in the fourth, tallying one run off two hits, but the Diplomats responded in the bottom of the inning with another run after Erdman and Glenn got in scoring position off a passed ball. Hudson notched the RBI single to bring the final score to 8-2.
Glenn led the offense with three hits, followed by Martin and Erdman with two each. Piccinich and Hudson recorded two RBIs apiece.
Emily Moll (1-1) earned her first collegiate win after pitching for seven innings, giving up just seven hits. Smith's Emma Gardecki (0-2) took the loss after tossing for three innings.
The Diplomats return to action tomorrow, taking on North Park at 9:00 a.m. and Mount Union at 11:15 a.m.