HIRAM, Ohio – The Hiram College softball team opened the home portion of their 2018 regular season by earning a doubleheader sweep of Grove City College on Monday afternoon.
The two victories were earned in very separate ways, with junior Makenzie Dombrowski pitching brilliantly in a 6-0 win in game one. The Hiram bats then helped lift the Terriers to a game-two win by a final of 12-8.
The Grove City bats had zero answers for Dombrowski in the circle, as the junior racked up strikeout after strikeout en route to a complete-game shutout victory.
Dombrowski allowed just a pair of hits, both to leadoff hitter Bre Lent, while surrendering just five total baserunners over seven innings of work.
The junior struck out a career high 13 batters in the game, setting down nine different players via punch out, including four batters, twice.
After striking out two in the top of the first inning, the Terriers got on the board in the bottom half of the frame, with Kaitlyn Hager reaching base on an error. After moving to second on a sacrifice bunt, Hager scored the game's first run on a two-out, RBI double from Nikki Budner.
That would be more than enough for Dombrowski, who struck out the side in both the second and third innings.
Hiram got their insurance runs in the form of a two-run homer by freshman Amanda Holzman. Her first-career shot scored Budner, giving the Terriers a 3-0 lead.
In the home half of the fourth, Hiram added two more runs. Bebe Grein drew a walk to open the frame, and walked home two batters later as Hager uncorked her third homer of the season, pushing the lead to 5-0.
Mariah Sheffield added the game's final run all on her own as the freshman tripled to open the sixth before scoring on a passed ball.
Offensively behind Dombrowski's gem, the Terriers put together nine hits on offense, four of which came for extra bases. Hager, Budner and Sheffield all posted two, each, while Hager and Holzman tallied a pair of RBIs.
Dombrowski earned her third win of the season, striking out a career-high and allowing just the two hits.
The performance marked the third complete-game shutout of her career. She first completed the feat allowing four hits and striking out nine in a 2-0 win over John Carroll on March 23, 2015. Her next best start came in a 1-0 win over Newbury in Tucson, Arizona last season. In that outing, she allowed just three hits while fanning 11.
In game two, it was the Hiram bats that came to the rescue. After falling behind 4-0 in the top of the first inning, Hiram battled back to post 11-straight runs.
The Terriers went from a four-run deficit to a one-run advantage in just one inning as Hiram posted five tallies in the bottom of the second.
With the bases full of Terriers, freshman Isabel Miranda tallied a two-run double to center, scoring Bahena and Sheffield. Carmen West then scored on an error before Miranda and Hager were brought home by back-to-back RBI groundouts from Zoe Ceballos and Shalynn Call.
An RBI single by Bahena led the Terriers to a pair of runs in the third, before once again coming up with a two-run hit in the bottom of the fourth. Three Wolverine errors also led to four runs in the frame which staked Hiram to a seven-run lead.
After Grove City tallied a run in the top half of the fifth, Budner came through with another hit to respond with the Terrier's last score of the evening.
The Wolverines would pull within four in the top of the sixth, before relief pitcher Chase Martinez came into to record a four-out save.
Bahena finished game two 4-for-4 on the day with three RBIs and a trio of runs scored. Sheffield tallied a trio of hits, including her second triple of the afternoon, while scoring three runs. Budner added a pair of hits, while Miranda tacked on two RBIs.
With another hit to her credit in game two, Hager ran her career-opening hitting streak to 16 games. Added to her totals, the freshman leadoff hitter is currently batting .540 on the season.
Hiram will be back in action on Friday afternoon, March 30, as the Terriers play host to NCAC foe, DePauw University. The matchup is set for a 3:30 p.m. start.