Middlebury Takes Series Opener at Wesleyan, 7-1

Melanie Mandell finished Friday's victory with two hits.
Melanie Mandell finished Friday's victory with two hits.

The Middlebury softball team opened its three-game NESCAC West series at Wesleyan with a 7-1 victory over the Cardinals in Connecticut on Friday. The Panthers (16-8-1, 3-4) and Wesleyan (9-17, 0-6) return to the field on Saturday and will conclude their weekend divisional series with a doubleheader beginning at 12:00 p.m.

Middlebury took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Olivia Bravo tripled to the gap in right-center field and scored two batters later on a single to left by Melanie Mandell.

The hosts tied the game at 1-1 in their half of the frame, as Reilly Weiners hit a run-scoring single.

The Cardinals seemed poised to take the lead in the third, getting the bases loaded with one out. Panther pitcher Allison Quigley got out of the jam, getting Hayley Lipson to hit into a fielder's choice and enticing Rachel Kantor into a ground out to end the inning.

The visitors carried that momentum into the top of the fourth, plating a pair of runs for a 3-1 lead. Hye-Jin Kim delivered a two-run single to right field, scoring Quigley and Sarah Freyre.

Middlebury extended its advantage to 4-1 in the top of the sixth when Quigley started the inning with a double to center and scored when Freyre produced a two-base hit to right. The lead grew to 6-1 when Freyre and Mandell each crossed home plate on an infield error. The Panthers capped off their four-run inning when Kim scored on a ground out by Siobhan O'Sullivan for a 7-1 lead.

Quigley (8-5) allowed only one base runner over the final two innings, winning her third-straight decision. She yielded eight hits and only an unearned run with one strike out for her 10th complete game of the spring. Wesleyan pitcher Julie MacDonald (5-9) took the loss for the hosts, giving up six runs (three earned) in five innings of work.

Freyre, who recently picked up her 100th career hit, went 2-2 with a pair of doubles, while Mandell also had two hits with a double and a single. Bravo added to the offense with a triple and Quigley helped her own cause with a double, a walk and two runs scored.

For Wesleyan, Weiners was 3-4 at the plate, while Jamie Horn collected two base hits.