Fort Myers, Fla. – Amazingly for the third straight day, the Clark University softball team recorded a doubleheader split, posting a 3-0 shutout of Northland College before dropping a 7-5 back-and-forth affair with Albion College in the nightcap on Monday morning at the CenturyLink Sports Complex.
The Cougars now sit at 3-3 overall and have already eclipsed their win total from a season ago.
In the opener, Clark posted its first shutout since midway through the 2014 season as Brenna Foley (Charlton, Mass.) was spectacular in the circle, tossing a complete game three-hitter, allowing just one walk while striking out a career-high eight batters.
Leadoff hitter Olivia Barksdale (Fort Washington, Md.) got the offense going with a walk in the bottom of the first and then went to second on an Alyssa Wright (Manchester, N.H.) single. After moving over to third on a wild pitch, Barksdale scored the game's first run on a sacrifice fly from Anjelica Gonzalez (Merrimack, N.H.).
The Cougars added a run in the third when Wright kicked off the inning with a single and then came around to score on a Rachel Kraytenberg (Londonderry, N.H.) base hit.
Clark's third run came in a similar fashion as the first two. Foley led off the inning with a walk and was sacrificed to second by Kendra Walker (Lincoln, R.I.). Leah Bodin (Shelburne, Vt.) entered as a pinch runner and her speed came in handy as she scored from second on a Barksdale single.
Northland threatened in the sixth when they put a runners on second and third with just one out, but Foley was able to work out of trouble by getting a key strikeout and then induced a harmless groundout to Kraytenberg at first the end the inning.
Wright had a pair of hits for Clark to lead the offensive attack.
In the nightcap, Albion rallied for five runs in the fifth and sixth innings combined to take a 7-5 decision.
The Cougars had surged ahead with single runs in the second and third and a pair in the fourth to grab a 4-1 advantage.
In the second, Kraytenberg was hit by a pitch, moved to third after a fielder's choice and a single from Taylor Erickson (Natick, Mass.) and then came home on a Danielle Tesler (Stoughton, Mass.) sacrifice fly to tie the score at 1-1.
Clark moved ahead when Barksdale led off the frame with a double to center and then scored on a great defensive play that resulted in a Kraytenberg sacrifice fly. The Cougars then tacked on two more in the fourth on a Wright double to center.
After getting a single run in the fourth, Albion got three in the fifth to retake the lead with the biggest blow being a two-run double by Kaitlin Hotchkiss.
Albion padded their lead with two more runs in the sixth as the Scarlet and White committed a pair of errors to aid in the offensive output.
Clark inched closer in the sixth when Walker singled and then came home on a double by Wright.
The Cougars seemed to be in business in the seventh after getting the first two runners on but Lauren Oppliger was able to get a much needed groundball and her defense turned a double play to help end the Clark threat.
Wright was stellar at the plate and made several dazzling defensive plays in the field, going 2-for-3 with a double and three RBI.
Erikson, who got the start in the circle and was effective, tossing four innings and allowing just two earned runs, was also 2-for-3 at the plate.
Clark returns to the field on Tuesday with a doubleheader against Nazereth College (9:00 AM) and Drew University (11:00 AM).