Panthers Hit Milestones In Florida Split

Melanie Mandell recorded her 100th career hit on Tuesday, going a combined 5-8 at the plate on the day.
Melanie Mandell recorded her 100th career hit on Tuesday, going a combined 5-8 at the plate on the day.

Middlebury hit a pair of milestones in Florida on Tuesday, as the Panthers posted a 9-5 victory over Buffalo State and fell 14-12 in the second game contest of the day against Kalamazoo. Melanie Mandell reached 100 career hits with five on the day, while head coach Kelly Bevere earned her 250th career victory. Middlebury (5-5) concludes their spring trip on Wednesday, facing Wisconsin-Whitewater at 9:30 a.m. and Elmhurst at 11:45 a.m.

After the Bengals (4-7) grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first game, the Panthers produced a big six-run third inning. Mandell tied the score with a two-out solo home run to right-center field, moving her into a second-place tie with Sarah Freyre ('14-'17) on Middlebury's career list for homers with 11.  Noelle Ruschil walked and crossed the plate on a triple by Sophia Marlino, who trotted home one batter later on a base hit up the middle by Liza Tarr. Ally Doll capped the big inning with a three-run double for a 6-0 advantage.

The Panthers tacked on two runs in their half of the fourth frame, as Emily Moore led off with a single and scored on a double by Ruschil. Tarr increased the margin to 8-1, with a sacrifice fly to center field.

Buffalo State cut into Middlebury's lead in the top of the fifth, plating three runs. Chelsea Davis had a key two-run single in the frame, as the Bengals closed the gap to 8-4.

In the sixth, Buffalo State tallied a single run, while the Panthers got it right back in the latter half of the inning. Mandell doubled to left and raced home on a single to center by Ruschil for the 9-5 final.

Mandell went 2-3 at the plate with a double, home run and scored three times, while Ruschil and Sophie Bolinger also had two hits each. Irene Margiotta (3-3) tossed a complete with five strikeouts to earn the win.

Five different Buffalo State players recorded hits, while Oriana Castello (3-3) gave up four runs in 2.2 innings to take the loss in the circle.

Against Kalamazoo (6-4), the Panthers scored twice in each of the first two innings with Tarr providing a 2-0 lead in the first with a double. After the Hornets cut the difference in half in the bottom of the frame, Mandell increased the advantage to 4-1 with a two-run single in the second stanza.

Kalamazoo took a 5-4 lead with four runs in the latter half of the third inning, but Middlebury came right back with a pair of runs in its next at bat. Marlino singled and scored when Moore blasted her first homer of the spring for a 6-5 lead.

The Hornets extended their lead to 14-8 through six innings, with the Panthers making a final push. Mandell plated Marlino, who doubled, with a single and Ruschil made it a 14-10 contest driving in a run with fielder's choice. Middlebury added two more runs on an infield error, making the final 14-12.

Tarr went 3-4 with two RBI and two runs scored, while Mandell, Marlino and Ruschil also finished with three hits apiece. Moore went 2-4 with a homer and scored four times. Olivia Bravo (0-1) suffered the loss in relief, going 2.1 innings with six runs allowed.

For the Hornets, Anna Majewski had a productive game, going 3-4 with three RBI, two runs scored and a walk. Sammi Luzadre (3-2) went 4.0 innings to get the win, with Keelin McManus hurling the final three to pick up the save.