Two home runs for Lin ’19 in softball season-opening DH sweep

Helen Lin '19 swings for the fence against Houghton on Thursday (Josh McKee photo).
Helen Lin '19 swings for the fence against Houghton on Thursday (Josh McKee photo).

Hamilton College's Helen Lin '19 blasted a two-run home run in both games and the Continentals swept their season-opening non-conference doubleheader against the Houghton College Highlanders at Hamilton's Loop Road Softball/Baseball Complex on Thursday.

Hamilton (2-0 overall) finished the first game in five innings with an 8-0 shutout and followed with a 10-2 win in a nightcap that was stopped after six innings due to the eight-run mercy rule. The Continentals racked up 24 hits through both games while the pitching staff held Houghton (1-11) to just seven.

Starting on Sunday, March 17, the Continentals play seven doubleheaders in nine days in Clermont, Fla.

Game One: Hamilton 8, Houghton 0 (5 innings)

In her first collegiate start in the pitching circle for Hamilton, Morgan Hartranft '22 (1-0) pitched a complete game one-hitter while totaling seven strikeouts and allowing five walks. Hartranft held the visitors hitless until the top of the final inning.

The Continentals jumped out to a 3-0 lead after one inning and added at least one run in every inning. Emily Fraser '19 went 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored and Lin scored three times. Kiana Arcayena '22, Liz Brautigam '19 and Ashleah Yzaguirre '19 had two hits each. Arcayena batted in two runs, and Shelby McVey '22 singled, walked and drove in a run.

Houghton had runners on second and third in the top of the first inning, but Hartranft struck out the side to end the threat. Lauren Couturier earned a leadoff walk and stole second base. Hannah Haskell then struck out looking before Couturier advanced to third on a wild pitch. Taylor Sile walked and the Continentals allowed her to advance to second on the following pitch. With one out and two runners on, Hartranft closed the door with back-to-back strikeouts.

Eight Continentals took an at bat in the bottom half of the first with three hits, a wild pitch, and two hit batters. Yzaguirre got it started with a two-out single to left-center field and scored when Fraser doubled to right center. Lin and Brautigam loaded the bases after they were hit by pitches. Fraser and Lin came around to score off Arcayena's single through the right side of the infield.

The Highlanders put two more runners on base in the top of the second after two walks, but a Hartranft strikeout and a line-drive double play turned by Searcy at shortstop and McVey at third got Hamilton out of the jam.

Hamilton added one run in the bottom of second inning. McVey earned a leadoff walk and Ellie Demaree '22 came in to pinch run. Demaree stole second base and came around to score when Yzaguirre knocked a two-out single to center field.

The Continentals extended their lead to 6-0 in the third inning on two hits and an error. Lin reached first base on a fielding error by the shortstop, Brautigam singled up the middle, and the senior captains then completed a double steal. Arcayena grounded out to second base to score Lin, and Brautigam scored when McVey singled down the left-field line.

Lin gave Hamilton an eight-run cushion in the bottom of the fourth with two outs. Fraser singled through the left side and Lin immediately followed with a two-run bomb over the fence in left. The homer was Lin's first since her rookie season in 2016.

Starting in the second inning and ending in the fifth, Hartranft retired eight straight Houghton batters with three strikeouts. Houghton's Haley Unverdorben broke up the no-hitter with a single to right center but was thrown out at second on a fielder's choice in the next at bat. Hamilton's Fraser grabbed the final out when Haskell flied out to center field.

Game Two: Hamilton 10, Houghton 2 (6 innings)

The Hamilton bats were on fire in the nightcap, tallying nine runs batted in on 14 hits with three doubles, two triples and a homer.

Lin picked up right where she left off in game one, going 4-for-4 with a double, a home run, three runs batted in and two runs scored. Demaree was also perfect at the plate with three hits including a triple. Victoria Dunn '22 took advantage of her first collegiate start at second base with a triple, double and two runs batted in. Fraser added two hits with a double and she scored three runs.

Dez DePaulis '19 (1-0) pitched three innings, giving up two runs on three hits and two walks. Molly Leitner '19 kept Houghton scoreless throughout the final three innings and gave up three hits and two walks.

Hamilton grabbed a quick lead again in the first inning. Caitlin Berreitter '20 and Searcy reached base with back-to-back walks. Berreitter was caught trying to steal third for the first out, but Searcy scored on Fraser's double to left center. Fraser advanced to third on a groundout and scored on Lin's infield single.

After a scoreless second inning, Houghton tied the score at 2-2 on two hits and an error in the top of the third, but the Continentals surged ahead again with five runs on five hits in the bottom half of the inning. Fraser was hit by a pitch to start, Lin doubled to left center, and Cardea cleared the bases with a single to right field and moved to second on an error. Demaree singled up the middle to score Cardea and Anna Rasmussen '21 reached on a fielder's choice. Dunn's triple down the left-field line scored Rasmussen from first base and Dunn crossed home on Berreitter's single through the left side.

Hamilton's lead moved to 8-2 in the fifth inning when Dunn doubled and Demaree scored from second base. Lin ended the game in the sixth. Fraser rocketed a single between the shortstop and third base to start the inning and Lin hit a line-drive homer that scraped the top of the fence in left-center field with one out to seal the victory.