TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- Rose-Hulman and Defiance battled to a split in a pair of extra inning softball contests to open the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference season on Saturday.
Defiance won the opener 6-5 in nine innings, before Rose-Hulman claimed a 5-4 victory in the nightcap.
In game one, Rose-Hulman relied on a three-run home run by senior Alyse Mueller (Belleville, Ill./West) to turn a 4-1 deficit into a 4-4 tie in the sixth inning.
After the teams battled through a scoreless seventh and eighth, Defiance scored twice in the top of the ninth. Rose-Hulman answered with one run, but Defiance shut down a final rally with two runners on base.
Mueller blasted the three-run home run to lead the offensive effort. Freshman Whitney Strain (St. Charles, Mo./Orchard Farm) and sophomore Jessica Ahlborn (Houghton, Mich.) had three hits each in the opener. Senior Brianne Widmoyer (Elkhart/Central) pitched six innings with five strikeouts to earn a no decision.
In the nightcap, six Engineers had two hits each as Rose-Hulman outhit Defiance 14-6 in the 5-4 victory. Widmoyer led the effort with a two-run double that helped setup extra innings. Sophomore Carly Heibel (Fort Wayne/Lakewood Park) had the game-winning single to score junior Jenna Martinek (Troy, Mo./Buchanan) with the winning run.
Ahlborn had two singles with two runs scored, and Widmoyer had two hits and two RBIs to lead the offense. Other Engineers with multiple hits included junior Allison Bowman (Fort Wayne/Snider), Strain, Martinek and sophomore Lindsey Watterson (Lexington/Southwestern).
Mueller kept the Engineers in the game with a seven-inning pitching performance that featured just six hits allowed. Freshman Taylor Lockhart (Robinson, Ill./Oblong) pitched a scoreless eighth to earn the victory.
Defiance stands 7-5 and 1-1 in HCAC play, while Rose-Hulman stands 5-9 and 1-1 in league play. Sunday's game with Rose-Hulman at Blackburn has been postponed, so the Engineers return to action next Saturday at home against Bluffton.