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TU Topples Huntington in Crossroads Tourney for 30th Win

 

UPLAND, Ind.  – For the fourth time in the past five years, the Taylor softball team has reached the 30-win mark, as the Trojans defeated Huntington, 7-2, in their first game of the Crossroads League Tournament for TU’s 30th win in 2018.

 

Huntington (23-25) put Taylor in an early deficit, as the Foresters took a 1-0 lead on Sophia Beachy’s solo home run in the top of the second.

 

The HU lead would be short-lived, however, as the Purple and Gold struck for three runs in the home-half of the frame. Lauren Kanai singled and was moved to second on Taylor Wilson’s sacrifice bunt, Olivia Hostetler walked to put runners on first and second with two outs and Cassie Kuizin sent the 0-2 pitch over the center-field fence for a three-run shot that put TU on top, 3-1, through two innings.

 

Davis Carter matched her classmate’s three-run shot with a solo bomb of her own in the third, pushing the TU lead to 4-1 after three frames.

 

Beachy drove in another run on a single for the Foresters in the top of the fourth to cut it to 4-2, but Taylor once again matched the HU run with an RBI single of its own by Hannah Castor, making it a 5-2 ballgame.

 

Castor added a couple of insurance runs in the sixth, going yard for a two-run homer to make the final score.

 

Taylor recorded 11 hits in the victory, with Kuzin, Castor, Lauren Kanai and Kara Tucker each notching two hits apiece. Kuizin scored three times and drove in three runs, while Castor also tallied three runs batted in.

 

Kanai (13-5) earned her 13th win of the season in the circle, scattering four hits and allowing just the two runs, while striking out three in six innings of work.

 

In TU’s second game of the day against Indiana Wesleyan (51-8), the Wildcats took a 3-0 lead in their first time at the plate, courtesy of a three-run home run by Kristen Exposito.

 

Erin Cozad then brought Taylor to within one, 3-2, on a two-run dinger in the top of the second, but IWU put up seven runs in the bottom of the second to take a 10-2 lead.

 

In the top of the third, Kuzin scored on a wild pitch, and Castor’s single was followed by Carter’s second home run of the day to cut the deficit to 10-5.

 

Indiana Wesleyan again had an answer, getting a home run from Emily Hastings and an RBI single from Alex Springer to take a 12-5 lead into the fourth inning.

 

After a scoreless fourth for both squads, Castor drove in Kuizin on a groundout to second, and Carter collected another RBI on a double to deep right-center to pull TU to within 12-7, but the Trojans only had one baserunner the rest of the game, resulting in the 12-7 loss.

 

Carter was 2-for-3 with the RBI double and two-run homer for three runs batted in, while Cozad also posted a 2-for-3 performance with two RBI coming on the second-inning home run. Kuizin and Tucker each collected two hits in both games as well.

 

No. 3 seed Taylor (30-14) will now move on in the double-elimination tournament to face No. 4 seed Mount Vernon Nazarene (24-20-1) in the loser’s bracket at noon on Thursday at Marian University.