Sophomore centerfielder Sydney Gardner had three base hits and scored twice on the day but the Forester softball team was defeated 5-3 and 4-2 by visiting Illinois Wesleyan University, the 15th-ranked team in the nation, on Saturday.
Gardner recorded the home team's first base hit in the opener, singling up the middle to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning. She advanced to second on an infield single by sophomore shortstop Kat Beal and went to third on a sacrifice bunt by senior catcher Alex Hemmer. Two batters later, she came home on a sacrifice fly to shallow center field by senior third baseman Kaleigh Ambrose to trim the Illinois Wesleyan lead to 2-1.
After the Titans plated a pair of runs in the top of the sixth, the Foresters scored twice in the bottom of the frame. The rally began with another leadoff single by Gardner, this time between the shortstop and third baseman. She then sped all the way to third base on a groundout by Beall and scored on another base hit through the left side of the infield by Hemmer. A double to left-center by sophomore Jillian Rashid later in the inning plated another run, making the score 4-3.
The visitors added an additional tally in the top of the seventh to account for the final score.
Illinois Wesleyan out-hit the home team 9-6 in the opener and 11-5 in game two.
The Titans scored first again in the second game on three singles in the top of the third.
Lake Forest responded with a run in the bottom of the fourth. Beall and Hemmer walked to start the inning and, with one out, a single up the middle by Ambrose plated Beall to tie the score.
The Foresters pulled ahead in the bottom of the fifth. Freshman leftfielder Maria Zepeda legged out a double to left-center with one out and came around to score on a single down the left field line by Gardner.
The first two Illinois Wesleyan batters in the top of the sixth were retired but the Titans still managed to score three unearned runs in the inning and held on for another two-run victory.
Lake Forest is now 3-8 and Illinois Wesleyan 7-3 on the year.
The Foresters will be back in action at home on Tuesday against the University of Chicago. Game one of the doubleheader will begin at 3:00 p.m.