Diplomats Joust Knights, Edge Vikings

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Franklin & Marshall softball team swept its second-straight doubleheader on Tuesday in Florida when the Diplomats (5-3) defeated Mt. St. Mary (N.Y.) 8-0 in five innings before edging Ohio Wesleyan 7-5 in non-conference action. 

Up 1-0 going into the bottom of the fifth against Mt. St. Mary (2-2), F&M's offense erupted for seven runs to force the mercy rule. Caitlyn Brust's RBI-single started things off in the fifth to increase the lead to 2-0 before Megan Ryan doubled to score Brust and Caroline Abin to give the Diplomats a 4-0 advantage.

Next, Alicia Kukoda hit a three-run single to score Liz Middleton, Patricia Crigler, and Ryan to make the score 7-0. Finally, Sam DeNoville reached on a fielder's choice to score Kukoda and give F&M an 8-0 victory. 

The Diplomats' stellar pitching continued as Kaitlin Zampino picked up her first win of the season, going five innings while giving up only one hit and striking out four Knights.

Crigler led F&M with three hits, while DeNoville added two.

In the nightcap against Ohio Wesleyan, the Diplomats struck in the top of the first when Ashley Hartshorn scored on a wild pitch to give F&M a 1-0 advantage. The Diplomats scored again in the third when a Ryan single scored Hartshorn to put F&M up 2-0. Rachel Laufer followed with an RBI-single to make the score 3-0. Middleton then smacked a two-RBI single to give the Diplomats a 5-0 lead before Kukoda made it 6-0 with another single.

In the bottom of the third, the Vikings got a run back when Chelsea Denman scored off an error to cut the lead to 6-1. Then, in the bottom of the fourth, Ohio Wesleyan's Dani Haley doubled to score Sarah Flint and cut the deficit to 6-2. Next, Lilly Gresh hit a sacrifice fly to make it 6-3, and Cassi Ladina singled to bring the Vikings within two runs at 6-4.

Up 6-5 in the top of the sixth, DeNoville ripped a single to put F&M ahead 7-5. Justine Lohrey and Zampino combined to hold Ohio Wesleyan scoreless the rest of the way as the Diplomats held on for the 7-5 victory.

Lohrey threw 6 1/3 innings and gave up two earned runs while striking out four batters to earn the win for F&M. 

The Diplomats continue action in Florida tomorrow when F&M battles New Jersey City at 9:00 a.m. before taking on Wartburg at 11:00 a.m.