Middlebury took game two of a double-header 7-6 from visiting Castleton (15-18) on Saturday, earning a split of the two-game series after dropping the opener 1-0. Middlebury (17-10) travels to Plymouth State on Wednesday before hosting Wesleyan in a key three-game showdown with NESCAC playoff implications on Friday and Saturday.
In game one, Castleton's Megan Blongy scored the only run in the game in the fifth inning, knocked in from second on an RBI single from Sarah Flore. Going into the frame, the Spartans were 1/6 as a team with runners in scoring position. For the game, Middlebury went 0/10 with RISP.
Hilary Bemis pitched the complete game shut-out, evening her record at 8-8, while Ali McAnaney (7-4) took the hard-luck loss for Middlebury, going the distance with one earned run, striking out 10 Spartans.
In game two, the Panthers wasted little time, scoring four in the bottom of the first. A lead-off triple by Jessa Hoffman started the rally, as she scored trying to be doubled-up after a pop-out bunt to third base. With two on, Jessica Poracky doubled to center for two RBI, before Alyson Downing chased her home with a triple and a 4-0 lead.
Castleton battled right back, scoring three in the next inning. A bases-loaded walk to Rachael Dube followed with Chipman scoring on a fielding error. Flore capped the scoring with an RBI single, cutting the Panther lead to 4-3.
Middlebury added another run in the bottom of the second for a 5-3 advantage, as Castleton tied it in the third. A two-out triple by Kealy Chipman plated Bemis, who walked to start the inning. A wild pitch by first-time starter Emma Katz allowed Chipman to score from third, tying the game at five apiece.
Emily Sweeney relieved Bemis to start the third, holding the Panther bats quiet until the bottom of the fifth. With a two-out single by Katz, Poracky slammed another double, pushing Katz to third. Katz was waived in from third during the play as the leftfielder mishandled the ball.
Trailing 6-5, Castleton added the equalizer in the sixth with timely two-out hitting. After drawing a walk, Blongy stole second and continued to third after the errant throw to second. A clean, two-out single to left by Abby Hewes scored Blongy, tying the game at six all. In the bottom of the frame, two-out hitting favored the Panthers, as a looping double that kicked up the chalk on the left field line by Megan Margel scored Hoffman from second base for the 7-6 lead.
Margel went 3/4 with a double, triple and two RBI, while Poracky added two doubles and a pair of RBI for Middlebury in game two. Katz went the distance in her first career start, allowing four earned runs over seven innings, notching her first win as a Panther. Bemis had a busy day for Castleton, starting game two, allowing four earned runs in the first two innings, moving to third base for the remainder of the game, and going 2/3 from the plate with a run scored. Sweeney took the loss in relief, going four innings, allowing one earned run, as Chipman went 2/4 for the Spartans, including a double and an RBI.