Clutch hitting from Duman, Stedman gives Linfield wins on the east coast

Joe Stuart, Staff Writer

Linfield softball won their first two games of the 2016 NFCA Division-III Softball Classic in Columbus, Georgia against the Trine University Thunder (4-4).

Both games were won thanks to clutch, late-game hitting by the Linfield Wildcats (8-4).

Maddy Dunn, ’16, started for the Wildcats, in her sixth appearance. She was awarded her fourth win of the season, putting her at a perfect four wins and zero losses on the year.

Dunn only allowed one run in spite of seven hits and four walks by the Thunder. Dunn pitched her third complete game of the season even with the game going to an extra eighth inning.

Trine’s one run came in the top of the fifth inning when Kendra Marshall hit an RBI double to score Erica Robles.

Trine was able to hold on to their slim lead till the bottom of the seventh inning.

With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Melanie Oord, ’18, singled to centerfield, which was enough to score Alissa Buss, ’18, from second to tie the game at 1-1 and send the game to extra innings.

Linfield’s defense held Trine scoreless in the top of the eighth even with the Thunder getting two base runners.

In the bottom of the eighth, Erin Tauscher, ’18, led off with a double.

With the winning run in scoring position, Linfield slugger Danielle Duman stepped to the plate.

Duman crushed the pitch for a walk-off home run to centerfield and gave Linfield the win 3-1. It was Duman’s second homer of the season.

In game two, it was Shelby Saylors, ’19, getting the win, and her first career complete game. Saylors allowed one run off of seven hits, while striking out two batters in her seven innings.

Linfield got the first lead in game two off a leadoff solo home run by Paige Smotherman, ’19. It was Smotherman’s third home run of the season in her freshman campaign, a team high shared with Tauscher.

The Thunder answered back in the bottom of the fifth with Kaitlyn Clark hitting an RBI single to score Dani Kirchner from second.

With two outs in the top of the sixth and the score still tied at one, Darian Stedman, ’19, slapped a two RBI single to give the Wildcats a 3-1 lead, all they would need for the win, holding Trine scoreless in the final two innings.

Linfield continues their NFCA Classic games Friday with games against Augustana College and Christopher Newport University. On Sunday morning, they wrap up their pool games against Fontbonne University before the tournament games on Sunday afternoon and Monday.