Late Offensive Surge in Nightcap Lifts RV Taylor to Split with No. 6 Marian
UPLAND, Ind. – After dropping a tough 1-0 decision in 11 innings in the opener, and trailing 4-0 after four innings in the nightcap, RV Taylor (20-8, 8-4 CL) came alive offensively in the final three frames, scoring seven unanswered runs and pounding out 10 hits in a 7-4 triumph over No. 6 Marian. The win marked the Trojans’ first over the Knights since April 21, 2017 and just their second over their Crossroads League foe since the 2014 season.
Kristin Mihalic, Maddi Evans, and Caitlyn Grim led the charge at the plate, each finishing 2-for-3 with a run scored and combining for four runs batted in. Kara Tucker delivered in the clutch, roping a two-out, two-run single to score a pair of insurance runs in the sixth, while Taylor Wilson added a hit, a run scored, and an RBI.
The Knights (21-7, 10-2 CL) struck first, scoring one run in the top of the first inning before adding three more on a trio of Trojan errors in the third, increasing their advantage to 4-0.
However, the Trojans were not daunted, and began their rally in the bottom of the fifth inning. After Mihalic started the frame with a single, Evans ripped a double to deep-left center field, scoring pinch runner Nicole Brindle. Three batters later, Grim crushed an RBI single to right-center, scoring Evans and cutting Marian’s advantage to 4-2.
The bats remained red-hot in the fifth as Taylor started the frame with five straight singles, leading to three runs. After Ashton Whitman and Lauren Kanai reached base safely, Mihalic’s RBI single scored Whitman to trim the Knights’ lead to 4-3. Wilson tied the game with an RBI single to center field, scoring Kanai, before Evans gave the Trojans the lead for good with a base hit down the left field line, plating Mihalic.
With two outs and the bases loaded later in the inning, Tucker delivered one of the biggest hits of her Taylor career, crushing the first pitch of her at-bat to left field, plating Wilson and Grim in the process, to cap off a five-run frame.
Cassy Lewis (3-2) shut the door in the seventh inning, striking out the final two batters she faced to secure Taylor’s three-run victory. The Dayton, Ohio native was tremendous in relief for the Trojans, giving up just two hits in the final three innings of the contest.
The opener was a pitchers’ duel, resulting in the longest contest for either team this season. However, despite another brilliant performance from Evans in the circle, the Trojans were unable to muster a single run in the extra-inning affair. Taylor had runners on base in each the eighth, ninth, 10th, and 11th innings, four of which were in scoring position, but they were all left stranded. In total, the Trojans left 11 runners on base in the game one defeat.
Despite the loss, Evans put forth another stellar effort against a ranked opponent. The Fairmount, Indiana native dominated the Marian lineup for 10 innings, striking out 15 batters, one shy of her career-high she set in her no-hitter against Goshen, and allowing just six hits, all of which were singles.
With her performance, Evans now has 126 strikeouts on the season, passing former Taylor standouts Hannah Robbins (114) and Hannah Klebsadel (122) for the fourth-most strikeouts recorded by a Trojan pitcher in a single season.
Additionally, the Trojans played remarkable defense throughout the contest. Wilson made a brilliant catch on a hard-hit line drive in the third frame, taking a base hit away from the Knights, while Tucker made three tremendous plays, including a backhand snag on a groundout in the fourth and a pair of force outs at home in the 10th with the bases loaded and nobody out.
Taylor will be back at Gudakunst Field on Friday afternoon, facing off against Mount Vernon Nazarene (8-4, 6-4 CL). First pitch is scheduled for 4:00 pm.