Titans Split Opening Games In Florida

Clare Robbe tossed five innings of scoreless relief to earn the win against Amherst College.
Clare Robbe tossed five innings of scoreless relief to earn the win against Amherst College.

Kaitlyn Krol homered and drove in a career-high four runs during the first game as UW-Oshkosh split a pair of softball contests on Friday (March 17) in Leesburg, Fla.

UW-Oshkosh (6-2) opened its 12-game trip to Florida with a 6-3 victory over Amherst College (Mass.) before falling, 13-2, in six innings against Lake Forest College (Ill.).

In the win over Amherst College, Krol launched a three-run home run to tie the score at 3 in the top of the third inning. Brianna Witter singled to lead off the fourth frame and scored the eventual game-winning run on a wild pitch with two outs.

Clare Robbe (3-0) earned the pitching victory for the Titans after tossing five scoreless innings of relief, yielding just one baserunner on a leadoff single in the home half of the seventh frame.

Krol concluded the contest 3-for-4 with a single, a double and her first home run of the season. She also registered 15 putouts at first base.

Amherst College (6-3) jumped out to a 3-0 lead with three runs on just one hit in the second inning off UW-Oshkosh starting pitcher Bailey Smaney.

The Purple & White loaded the bases on a single and a pair of walks with two outs. Amherst College scored the game's first run on a wild pitch, and two more crossed the plate on a subsequent infield error.

Krol blasted her two-out, game-tying home run well beyond the right-center field fence. Emma Fionda sparked the rally with a single and a steal of second base with two outs. Abby Menting then walked ahead of Krol's third career homer.

The Titans manufactured the decisive run in the fourth inning as Witter was sacrificed to second base by Natalie Dudek before a groundout from Claire Petrus advanced Witter to third.

Robbe retired 12 straight Amherst College batters after entering the game at the start of the third inning. Robbe induced 11 groundouts, including the first nine batters she faced, and tallied one strikeout.

UW-Oshkosh added two insurance runs on three hits in the sixth inning. Dudek singled and scored on a base hit by Menting, who later crossed the plate on a single by Krol.

The Titans outhit the Purple & White, 9-3, as Amherst College starting pitcher Lorena Ukanwap (2-1) suffered her first loss of the season after entering the week ranked third in the NCAA Division III with 14.6 strikeouts per seven innings.

Ukanwap allowed six runs on eight hits in six innings pitched. She walked four and struck out five.

UW-Oshkosh left 10 runners on base while Amherst College stranded just two.

In the loss to Lake Forest College, the Foresters outhit the Titans, 11-3, and launched a pair of home runs.

Clinging to a 3-2 lead, Lake Forest College scored four runs in the fifth inning and six more in the sixth.

Kat Beall and Abby King both hit home runs while Sam Rosenfeld went 3-for-3 with a pair of runs and two RBIs. Beall concluded the game with four runs batted in, and King collected three RBIs.

Lake Forest College (4-5) maintained a lead after striking for three runs on three hits in the top of the second inning.

After UW-Oshkosh starting pitcher Sara Brulieb and Lake Forest College starter Missy Dieckman-Meyer tossed perfect first innings, the Foresters had runners at first and second base with two outs, when Haylee Sherlund delivered a two-run double and Rosenfeld followed with a single to score Sherlund.

The Titans responded with two runs on just one hit in the home half of the second inning. Krol and Petrus walked to lead off the frame, and both moved into scoring position after a sacrifice bunt by Lauren Torborg. After Dudek singled to load the bases, Krol scored on a wild pitch, and Hoerning plated Petrus with a sacrifice fly.

Dieckman-Meyer went on to allow just two more hits the rest of the way. Fionda singled to open the third inning but was stranded on third base to end the threat, while Dudek singled with one out in the fourth.

Beall's two-run home run with one out in the fifth inning gave the Foresters a 7-2 and ended Brunlieb's outing.

Lake Forest College, which went into the game averaging one home run per game, tacked on six runs on four hits and one error in the sixth inning, highlighted by a two-run double from Beall and a three-run home run from King. Four of the Foresters' six runs in the sixth inning were unearned off Smaney, who relieved Brunlieb with no outs and the bases empty in the fifth frame.

Dieckman-Meyer (3-2) earned the complete-game win, registering four strikeouts against four walks.

Brunlieb (1-2) was charged with the loss, surrendering seven runs (six earned) on seven hits in four-plus innings pitched. She recorded four strikeouts and walked one.

Dudek went 2-for-3 to pace the Titans while Krol walked during all three of her plate appearances.

The Titans had lost their previous two meetings with Amherst College by one run in eight innings. Amherst College eked past UW-Oshkosh by scores of 5-4 on March 19, 2012, and 4-3 on March 22, 2012, both in Fort Myers, Fla.

UW-Oshkosh plays Hope College (Mich.) and Benedictine University (Ill.) on Saturday (March 18) in Clermont, Fla.

Photo by Paul Fionda