BLUFFTON, Ohio – Freshman Lily Beurman (Evansville, Ind.) continued the strong start to her collegiate career, as she helped guide Hanover softball to a doubleheader split at Bluffton (Ohio) Sunday afternoon.
Beurman pitched a total of 9.0 innings over the two games, allowing just two runs -- one earned -- on seven hits, while striking out 10. The freshman went the distance in the opener, striking out seven Bluffton (8-21, 3-9 HCAC) batters in a 6-2 Hanover (14-14, 4-6 HCAC) win. For the season, Beurman is now 6-6 with a 3.39 earned run average and has K'd seven or more batters in each of her last three starts.
Offensively, freshman Mackenzie Smith (Jeffersonville, Ind.) was 3-for-5 on the day, including a 2-for-3 effort in the opener. Smith also walked twice in the second half of the twin bill and scored one run in the opener. Senior Dabney Skutt (Indianapolis, Ind.) added three of her four hits in the second contest.
In the first game, HC had five different players record multiple hits as the squad finished with 12. Included in the offensive excellence was freshman Rachel Cox (Indianapolis, Ind.), who tallied a 2-for-3 effort with a pair of doubles.
After a fly out to start the contest, Hanover received three consecutive hits from Smith and seniors Sidney Powers (Indianapolis, Ind.) and McKenzie Writt (Franklin, Ind.) to take an early 1-0 lead. A Bluffton home run though in the bottom of the first tied the contest at one-all.
The Blue and Red had the bases loaded in the top of the third with no outs after singles from Skutt and Smith and Powers was hit by a pitch. On the ensuing at-bat though, HC grounded into a double play, leaving runners on first and second with two outs. However, four Panther runners would cross home plate in the inning with sophomore Taylor Merrill (Brownsburg, Ind.) reaching on an error to score the first run. Freshman Ashley Swearingen (Clarksville, Ind.) then drove in two runs with a single up the middle and another base hit up the middle from sophomore Shelby Edington (New Goshen, Ind.) scored Swearingen.
Powers would drive in another two-out run in the fourth, as her single to right center plated Cox. Cox opened the frame with a double to left field.
Bluffton was able to scratch across one unearned run in the fifth but Beurman was able to retire eight of the final 10 Beaver batters she faced. Three of the final eight Bluffton outs came via the strikeout.
A four-run first for the Beavers in the night cap was enough to secure the doubleheader split, as HC fell 6-2. Swearingen reached on an error in the top of the sixth and later scored on an additional Bluffton error. Sophomore Bailey Miller (Charlestown, Ind.) drove in the second run of the frame with a pinch-hit double to left field.
With six Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference games remaining, Hanover currently sits in sixth place in the league standings and 2.0 games back from a top-five placement. The Panthers still have doubleheaders with Franklin and Defiance, who are second and third, respectively, and Anderson, who sits one spot behind HC in the conference standings.
The Blue and Red will break from HCAC action though in their next outing, traveling back to Ohio for a doubleheader with Wilmington. The Panthers and Quakers are slated for 3 and 5 p.m. starts Tuesday, April 24.
Contact: Tyler Jester