DECATUR, Il. - Fighting off frigid February temperatures, Calvin claimed a season-opening 15-13 victory over Millikin University.
In addition to extreme weather conditions, Friday's game provided extreme lead changes.
Calvin scored eight runs in the top of the first inning, using five walks, three hits, two Millikin errors and a hit batter. Freshman Brooke Timm (Niles, Mich./Niles HS) had a two-run RBI single while freshman Sydney Duong (Kalamazoo, Mich./Kalamazoo Christian HS) also had a run-scoring single in the inning.
Millikin answered with five runs in the bottom of the first and added another in the second to trail 8-6. Calvin came back with three runs in the third, using a pair of hits and a pair of Millikin errors to take an 11-6 lead.
The host Big Blue scored once in the bottom of the third, twice in the fourth and four times in the fifth to take a 13-11 lead.
Calvin went scoreless in the sixth but in the top of the seventh, the Knights mounted a four-run rally to take the lead.
Sophomore Hannah Biddelcome (Portage, Mich./Portage Northern HS) and junior Grace Stock (Vicksburg, Mich./Vicksburg HS) led off the inning with back-to-back walks.
Senior Grace Quiggle (Saranac, Mich./Lowell HS) followed with a run-scoring single. Junior Kennedy Geiger (Clarksville, Mich./Lake Odessa HS) followed with a clutch two-run RBI double that put the Knights up 14-13. Geiger later scored an insurance run on a wild pitch.
In the bottom of the seventh, freshman Kirsten Krause (Fredonia, Wisc./Grafton HS) set the Millikin lineup down in order to seal her first collegiate victory.
Junior Ellie Borst (Hudsonville, Mich./Unity Christian HS) went the first three innings for the Knights with junior Bri Leegwater (Zeeland, Mich./Holland Christian HS) pitching the next 1.1 innings before giving way to Krause in the fifth. Krause struck out three batters in 2.2 innings of work while allowing only one hit.
Calvin had 11 hits in the win led by Duong who was 4-for-5 at the plate. Stock and Quiggle had two hits apiece. Biddlecome, Stock and Quiggle all scored three runs apiece. Geiger finished the day with three RBI.
COACHES COMMENT: "This was a very gritty season-opening win by our team," said Calvin head softball coach Becky Hilgert. "We knew the conditions would be tough so we just talked about focusing on our mindset, what we could control and just to take the game one pitch at a time. I just pressed on them to keep fighting through the adversity and they did and we found a way to get it done. Our pitching staff batttled well and Kirsten shut the door on their offense late in the game. Our offense rallied in the top of the seventh and Kennedy came up with the key hit to put us back on top. Full team effort today across the board."
NEXT UP: Calvin will face Buena Vista on Saturday at Millikin in a doubleheader slated to start at noon (CST). Calvin was scheduled to face Millikin twice on Saturday but game two was cancelled by diminishing temperatures.