DANVILLE, Ky. – A Sunday trip to Kentucky was unkind for the Hanover softball team, as they suffered 7-5 and 1-0 losses to Centre (Ky.) and Denison (Ohio), respectively.
The Panthers (10-6) entered the day winners in seven of their last eight outings, including a home doubleheader sweep over Capital (Ohio) Saturday afternoon. The host, Centre, improved to 9-8 on the season after defeating both Denison and HC Sunday, while the Big Red are 1-1 after opening their 2018 campaign this weekend.
Hanover's opener against Centre saw freshman Rachel Cox (Indianapolis, Ind.) go 4-for-4 for the second consecutive game, as she also scored the Blue and Red's first run in the bottom of the second inning.
Just as they did in both games Saturday, the top three hitters in the lineup, freshman Mackenzie Smith (Jeffersonville, Ind.) and seniors Dabney Skutt (Indianapolis, Ind.) and McKenzie Writt (Franklin, Ind.), found success at the plate, combining for seven hits. Skutt was 3-for-4, driving in one run and scoring once. Smith and Writt each added two hits and one RBI, with the freshman also adding a run scored as well.
Falling behind 3-0 after one against the Colonels, Cox and Smith, along with freshman Brittney Ralston (Lexington, Ind.), all crossed home plate in the second inning, tying it up at three-all.
Finding itself behind by two later on, Hanover produced another run in the third, closing the deficit to 5-4 with freshman Ashley Swearingen (Clarksville, Ind.) scoring. A double from Writt in the bottom of the sixth once again pulled HC within one run, 6-5, as Skutt would score on a throwing error off her classmate's extra-base hit.
Centre added a home run in the top half of the seventh to recapture a two-run advantage, 7-5. The Panthers would get two of their first three batters in the bottom half of the frame on, but both were stranded after a pop out and strikeout.
In the night cap, freshman Lily Beurman (Evansville, Ind.) pitched arguably the best game of her young collegiate career, despite taking the loss. Beurman went six innings, allowing one run on four hits, while striking out four Denison batters.
Unfortunately for the freshman, a two-out double from the Big Red in the bottom of third gave Denison a 1-0 advantage, a score they would ultimately win by. Hanover was only able to post one hit in the loss, a two-out single from Skutt in the sixth, as they were shutout for the first time this spring.
The Blue and Red will continue their road swing with a doubleheader at Ohio Northern Wednesday, March 21. The Panthers and Polar Bears were originally scheduled to play this past Wednesday, but weather postponed it seven days. The first game will still have a 2:30 p.m. start.
Contact: Tyler Jester