Middlebury earned a split of a NESCAC West doubleheader at Williams on Friday afternoon. The Ephs moved to 8-17 overall and 3-2 in the NESCAC West while Middlebury is now 15-7 overall and 6-2 in divisional play. The two teams will meet again Sunday at 2 p.m. in the rubber match of the three-game series.
After Middlebury dispatched the Ephs 6-2 in game one, the Panthers took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning in the nightcap when an Emily Burbridge groundout scored Emma Katz from third and a wild pitch from starter Megan Casey allowed Alyson Downing to cross the plate.
Williams came up with two in its half of the second to tie the game. With the bases loaded and one out, junior Carly Ameen hit a one-hop smash back up the middle that glanced off Middlebury starter Ali McAnaney's leg and rolled all the way to right field, allowing Correnti, who had singled, and Mary Beth Daub, who reached on a fielder's choice, to score.
The Ephs then plated three runs in the bottom of the third to grab a 5-2 lead. A key error and wild pitch helped out, but Correnti and Kaitlin Dinet also had RBI-singles in the frame. Middlebury scored twice in the fifth to make it 5-4, and then nearly regained the lead in its half of the sixth, loading the bases with one out.
However Casey, who had a gutsy win, got out of the jam, first striking out pinch hitter Sarah Boylan, then retiring Megan Margel on a comebacker to the mound. Over seven innings, Casey allowed 10 hits and two walks while striking out three. She stranded nine Panthers on the basepaths.
In the bottom of the sixth, Casey's teammates got her some breathing room when, with two outs, Merrilee Weston drew a walk and Blazek followed by crushing a ball to left center, well over the fence for her sixth home run of the season and a 7-4 lead. Blazek finished 2 for 4 with two RBI and two runs scored. Dinet was 2 for 3 with an RBI. Oriana Mcgee and Allison Hart were both 2 for 4.
Margel was 2 for 4 with an RBI in the loss, while Downing was 2 for 4 with two runs scored. McAnaney took the loss, allowing 11 hits over five innings while not walking a batter and striking out three.
In the opener, Middlebury scored twice in the fourth to break open a scoreless tie, then added four in the sixth to build a commanding lead. Panther hurler Geena Constantin helped her own cause in the fourth when she blasted a two-run homer to straightaway centerfield.
The Ephs cut that deficit in half with a run in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs, Blazek lined a single and promptly stole second. She scored when Daub lined a sharp single to center.
Downing's two-run single in the sixth capped the four run outburst for Middlebury. Williams final run came when Blazek led off the seventh inning with a solo home run to right field.
Constantin was the winning pitcher, going seven frames and giving up just four hits while not walking a batter and fanning 10. Daub was nearly her equal, allowing just three hits over seven innings while not walking a batter and fanning eight.