Offensive Explosion Lifts RV Taylor to Doubleheader Sweep of Grace
UPLAND, Ind. – Behind a plethora of offense and another stellar pitching performance from Lauren Kanai, RV Taylor (16-6, 4-2 CL) collected its second straight Crossroads League doubleheader sweep with a pair of victories over Grace (1-19, 1-5 CL). After falling behind by three in game one, the Trojans rattled off 10 unanswered runs in the final three innings en route to a 14-7 triumph. In the nightcap, Kanai’s gem, combined with an early offensive onslaught, resulted in a 9-1 win in six innings.
As a team, Taylor hit 27-of-64 (.422) in the two contests to go along with four doubles and three home runs, and six Trojans drove in at least two runs. Maddi Evans finished 4-for-7 with a two-run shot and five runs batted in, while Kara Tucker went 3-for-7, recording her first collegiate home run, scoring five runs, and driving in four. Kanai also dominated at the plate, finishing with four hits, four runs scored, and three RBI, while Kristin Mihalic added two hits and three RBI.
Taylor looked to be in control early in the opener, scoring four runs in the first three innings. Evans scored Lexi Abruzzo on a squeeze bunt in the first for a 1-0 lead, before a Mihalic RBI groundout and a two-run single from Evans in the third increased the Trojans’ advantage to 4-0.
The Lancers, however, came roaring back in the top of the fourth frame, hitting a grand slam and a three-run bomb with two outs to turn their four-run deficit into a three-run lead.
It took an inning for the Trojans to regroup, but once they did, the floodgates opened, leading to eight runs in the bottom of the fifth. Cassy Lewis started the rally with an RBI double, scoring Nicole Brindle, before Evans’ two-run bomb over the left-center field fence tied the contest at 7-7. With her five RBI in game one, Evans now leads the Trojans with 20 runs batted in on the season.
An RBI single from Tucker, a two-run base hit from Kanai, and two runs on a Grace error capped off the scoring for the Trojans in the frame, giving them a 12-7 advantage.
Tucker added a little insurance for the Trojans in the bottom of the sixth, crushing her first home run in a TU uniform to left-center field.
Lewis (2-1) earned the win in relief, shutting down the Grace lineup in her 3.1 innings of work. The Dayton, Ohio native allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out three.
The Trojans wasted little time finding offense in the nightcap, scoring six runs in the first two frames. Back-to-back RBI singles from Kanai and Mihalic in the first gave the Trojans a 3-0 lead, before a Tucker RBI single and a two-run blast from Ashton Whitman increased Taylor’s advantage to 6-0.
In the fourth, Emma West scored on another Grace error and Aleyah Rastetter singled home Kanai. Two innings later, Rastetter put the finishing touches on the sweep, hitting a walk-off double to deep left-center field.
Kanai (7-3) completely shut down the Lancer offense, allowing just three hits, all singles, and one run while striking out five. After a string of strong starts in the circle for the Grand Rapids, Michigan native, Kanai now leads the Trojans in earned run average (2.17) and is tied for first with Evans in wins (seven).
Taylor will head to Huntington tomorrow afternoon to take on the Foresters (11-7, 2-2 CL) for the first time this season. The first pitch of the doubleheader is scheduled for 3:00 pm.