Panther Softball Splits With Hamilton in NESCAC West Play

Taylor Gardner went 3-5 with three runs scored and four RBI to go along with two walks on Saturday.
Taylor Gardner went 3-5 with three runs scored and four RBI to go along with two walks on Saturday.

The Middlebury softball team fell in game one by a 6-4 score, but rebounded against host Hamilton in the second contest of the day for an 11-1 victory in five innings. With yesterday's 8-5 triumph, the Panthers (12-8, 2-4) win the NESCAC West series, 2-1. Middlebury returns to action when it hosts Norwich on Monday for a doubleheader beginning at 3:30 p.m.

In game one, Middlebury got on the board early with a pair of runs. Ali Della Volpe drew a leadoff walk, coming around to score on a passed ball. Melanie Mandell also induced a base on balls, scoring on a single through the right side by Erin Giles.

The Panthers added a pair of tallies in the second for a 4-0 advantage. Hye-Jin Kim started things with a base hit, scoring on a double down the left-field line by Taylor Gardner. She moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a fielder's choice.

The score remained that way until the bottom of the fifth. Hamilton's Kendall Searcy drew a bases-loaded walk for the first run, while Emily Fraser brought the second and third tallies home with a two-run double to left center.

In the bottom of the seventh, back-to-back singles from Becca Butler and Fraser put two on with two out. Sophia Cerreta followed with a three-run homer to center, giving the Continentals a 6-4 walk-off victory.

Irene Margiotta tossed the first 4.1 innings, allowing three runs on six hits with four strikeouts. Allison Quigley took the loss, giving up three runs on five hits on two innings of relief. Kim (2-4) and Gardner (2-3) each had multi-hit games and scored a run. Mandell drew three walks, and the Panthers as a team induced 11 free passes in the contest.

Ursula Castiblanco threw the first 4.2 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) and five hits with seven walks and three stirkeouts. Molly Leitner tossed 1.1 innings with four base on balls, while Desmen DePaulis earned the win with one hit in the seventh. Fraser paced the Continental hitters with a 3-4 game at the plate and two RBI.

In the nightcap, the Panthers scored in each of the five innings. Quigley brought home the first run with an RBI double in the top of the first, while Liza Tarr smacked a run-scoring double in the second. Della Volpe made it 3-0 with an RBI groundout lead after two frames.

The Panthers exploded for six runs in the third, highlighted by a two-run homer to left center off the bat of Quigley and a double by Gardner that plated a pair, for a 9-0 advantage. An RBI groundout in the fourth from Gardner and a run-scoring base hit in the fifth provided the Panthers' 10th and 11th tallies of the game. The Continentals pushed across a run in the bottom of the fifth for the final 11-1 score.

Quigley (6-5) picked up the win in the circle, allowing just one run on four hits with three strikeouts in her eighth complete game of the spring. She aided her own cause going a perfect 4-4 at the plate with four RBI and two runs scored, while Della Volpe and Gardner both scored twice for the Panthers.

DePaulis (2-8) was tagged with the loss for the Continentals, giving up three runs on three hits in two innings. Zoe Singer pitched an inning, while Castiblanco hurled the last two frames. Four different players had hits for Hamilton in the second game, while Ashleah Yzaguirre tallied the RBI.