The softball and baseball regular seasons are nearing a close, and both Taylor teams had strong performances last weekend to strengthen their position in the Crossroads League and in the NAIA National Top 25.
The No. 21 ranked baseball team, 33-12 on the season with a 20-0 home record, bounced back from a tough road series against Indiana Wesleyan with a dominant four-game sweep of Spring Arbor on Apr. 16 and 17.
Taylor was led by sophomore Ben Kalbuagh in the first doubleheader of the series, as the catcher hit a homerun in both games. Senior Joe Moran earned the win on the mound in the opener, as he struck-out 11 batters in 7.2 innings of work, as Taylor won 7-2. He also had two hits in the game.
Kalbaugh’s second-inning blast in the final game of the doubleheader was the Trojans only run and hit in the game, and allowed for the pitching tandem of junior Noah Huseman and senior Mitch Ubehlor to bring home the 1-0 victory.
Huseman has a 1.37 ERA on the season, which is the No. 4 mark in NAIA Division I. Ubelhor has a 2.32 ERA on the season out of Taylor’s bullpen and has struck out 51 batters in only 31 innings of work.
Moran turned around and had a big day Saturday, Apr. 17, as he hit three homeruns in the doubleheader to propel Taylor to the sweep. Junior Luke Shively earned the win in the opener, as TU built a 9-1 lead, before Spring Arbor closed the gap to the 10-6 final.
The second game wasn’t much closer, as the Trojans jumped out to another big lead, this time 7-0. Spring Arbor would manage to put up four runs, but the 9-4 victory never got within four after the quick start from TU. Junior Luke Carlson notched the win on the mound.
The Trojans are second in the Crossroads League, and will open the conference tournament on May 7 after a final series with Marian University this coming weekend.
Softball, who is receiving votes in the NAIA Top 25, had a strong four-game stretch last weekend at home to improve their record to 30-12.
TU swept both doubleheaders on Apr. 16 and 17, beating Saint Francis 5-3 and 8-2, and Huntington 10-3 and 7-2.
Junior Maddi Evans and senior Lauren Kanai picked up victories against Saint Francis, as both continue to spearhead Taylor’s strong pitching on the season.
Freshman Aleyah Rastetter went 5-8 in the doubleheader against the Cougars, and hit two homeruns on the day, with the first being a three-run shot that was the difference in the opener.
On Saturday, against Huntington, TU continued the strong offensive performances, as they put up 10 runs in the opening game. Evans and Kanai again got the starts on the mound, and each notched a win in the doubleheader.
Senior Kara Tucker had a triple and five runs batted in over the two games.
The offense carried over to the second game, as Taylor scored five of its seven runs in the opening three frames. Whitman hit a second-inning homerun and Tucker knocked in her fifth RBI on the day in the same inning to get the Trojans out to an early 3-0 lead.
Kanai threw a complete-game to lock down the sweep against Huntington.
Softball will finish the regular season against Bethel and Spring Arbor, before the Crossroads League Tournament starts on May 5. Taylor is currently No. 3 in the conference standings, behind Marian and Indiana Wesleyan.