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Taylor Softball Tops MVNU, Falls to IWU in CL Tourney

 UPLAND, Ind. – Justice Carmichael’s walk-off, two-run blast in the bottom of the tenth inning lifted Taylor to a thrilling 4-2 victory over Mount Vernon Nazarene in the opening round of the Crossroads League Tournament at Gudakunst Field on Wednesday morning.

After Davis Carter grounded out to second to leadoff the tenth frame, Courtney Moriarty singled up the middle to put the winning run on first base. Lauren Ehle moved Moriarty over to second with a sacrifice bunt, bringing Carmichael to the plate. The sophomore then deposited the 1-1 pitch over the center-field fence to end the contest in a 4-2 TU triumph.

The Trojans held a 2-1 lead going into the top of the seventh frame needing only three outs to secure the first-round win, but Sarah Boue led off the inning with a double and later scored on Savannah Bryner’s two-out single to tie the game up at 2-2. TU could not push any runs across in the home-half, sending the game into extra innings.

The eighth and ninth innings were quiet, as neither team posed a real threat to break the 2-2 deadlock.

MVNU (20-30) had a runner on first with one out in the top-half of the tenth, but a 5-4-3 double play by the Trojan infield ended the half-inning, setting up Carmichael’s heroics in the bottom-half.

Moriarty and Carter each collected a trio of hits to lead TU at the plate, with Moriarty adding two runs as well. Carmichael scored twice and drove in three of Taylor’s four runs with an RBI double in addition to the game-winning round-tripper. Erin Cozad and Hannah Castor added two hits apiece to the Trojan cause.

TU carried the momentum from Carmichael’s walk-off into its second outing of the day against Indiana Wesleyan, as the Trojans got a single from Alex Lovelace and a double from Anna Gunderson to begin the contest. Castor’s single two batters later scored both Lovelace and Gunderson and Taylor held a 2-0 lead after the first inning.

The lead, however, would not last long, as IWU put up 11 runs over the third and fourth innings on the power of three home runs, including a grand slam, to lead 11-2 entering the fifth frame.

Moriarty, Ehle, Carmichael and Cozad each singled to begin the top of the fifth to score a run and load the bases with no outs, but a force out at the plate and a double play ended the game at 11-3 due to run-rule.

With the loss, No. 2 seed Taylor (36-15) moves to the loser’s bracket of the double-elimination tournament and plays the No. 8 seed Spring Arbor (18-35) at noon on Friday at Marian University. The game was originally scheduled for Thursday, but all of the tournament action scheduled for Thursday have been postponed to Friday due to the weather forecast for Thursday.

The Trojans swept the regular season series against SAU, winning the four games by a combined score of 29-7, with two run-rule victories.