May 3, 2010

The Middlebury College softball team took game one of a key NESCAC West series with Wesleyan by a final score of 5-0. Middlebury struck for four runs in the third inning, sending 10 batters to the plate. Junior Megan Margel (Ridgewood, N.J.) delivered the big blow, blasting a two-run double to plate first-year player Jessa Hoffman (Golden, Colo.), junior Emily Burbridge (E. Greenwich, R.I.) and sophomore Kira Gordon (Scarborough, Maine). Margel advanced to third on a fly out from rookie Jessica Poracky (Ramsey, N.J.), before scoring on an RBI double from junior Geena Constantin (Pelham, N.H.).

            Middlebury added a run in the fourth, as Gordon singled and later moved to second on a ground out. Poracky plated Gordon with an RBI single to make it a 5-0 game.

            Constantin was cruising on the rubber for the Panthers, facing just three batters over the minimum in the game. The junior allowed just one hit in the game, striking out four while retiring 11 straight through the middle innings.

            Gordon finished the day 2-4 with two runs scored, Hoffman was 2-4 with a double, while Poracky went 2-4 with an RBI.

            Meaghan Dendy singled for Wesleyan, while taking the loss with five runs and 10 hits given up over six innings of work.

            After dropping game one of a key three-game NESCAC West series, Wesleyan bounced back on Saturday with 10-7 and 6-4 wins over Middlebury. With the victories, the Cardinals (20-15, 8-4) advance to next weekend's NESCAC Tournament, while the Panthers end their season with an 18-12 mark, 7-5 in league play.

            Middlebury struck for five runs in the first inning of game one, pounding out four hits in the frame. Margel singled in Hoffman, before Poracky blasted a three-run bomb to left to make it a 4-0 game. The Panthers added an unearned run later in the inning to hold a 5-0 advantage. An RBI double from Taylor Zavadsky plated Sam Epstein to make it a 5-1 game in the second inning.

            The Cardinals came charging back in the third, scoring six runs on six hits. RBI singles from Talia Bernstein, Epstein and Zavadsky sparked the inning, as Constantin came on in relief of Middlebury junior Ali McAnaney (Northbrook, Ill.).

            Trailing 7-5, Middlebury struck for a pair on the bottom of the fourth to tie the game at 7-7. A bases loaded two-out single to right from sophomore Alyson Downing (Rumney, N.H.) scored Margel and Hoffman. The game remaining tied through seven, forcing it into extra innings.

            Zavadsky singled and moved to second on an error with one out for the Cardinals. A throwing error on a bunt allowed pinch-runner Leah Temes to score, as Allee Beatty advanced to second. Meaghan Dendy singled to right center to drive in Beatty, before Chrissy Bello later drove in Dendy to make it a 10-7 game. The Panthers went quietly in the bottom of the inning as the Cardinals took game one.

            Dana Levy earned the win in relief for Wesleyan, tossing seven innings and striking out four batters. Zavadsky ended the game 3-4 with a double and two RBI, while Epstein was 2-3 with a pair of runs scored. Dendy, Bello and Tori Redding each went 2-5 with two runs scored.

            Constantin took the loss in relief for the Panthers, allowing one earned run over 5.2 innings of work. Margel went 3-5 with two runs scored, while Hoffman was 2-4, scoring twice. Downing went 2-4 with two driven in, while Gordon also was 2-4.

            With the third game deciding who advances to the NESCAC Tournament, each team plated a run in the first inning. Bernstein singled up the middle to score Redding, before Poracky plated Hoffman with an RBI groundout in the bottom of the inning.

            Zavadsky singled to center to plate Bernstein, who led off the inning with a double to give Wesleyan a 2-1 lead in the fourth. Alexis Kral followed with a double down the left field line to plate Epstein to make it a 3-1 game. The Cardinals added to their lead in the sixth, with an RBI single from Kral and a two-run triple to right from Dendy to make it a 6-1 contest.  

            Middlebury did not go quietly, rallying in the bottom of the seventh inning. With two on and two out, Hoffman tripled down the right field line to plate rookie Sarah Boylan (Danvers, Mass.) and Downing. Burbridge singled in Hoffman, while Margel singled to center to put runners at the corners. Poracky ended the game with a line shot right back at Levy, who made the catch.

            Levy earned her second save of the season, while Dendy picked up the win with 3.2 innings of work. Zavadsky went 2-2, Kral was 2-3 with a double and two RBI, while Bernstein had a 2-4 game with a double.

            McAnaney took the loss for the Panthers, tossing all seven innings. Margel went 3-4, while Hoffman had a triple.

            Margel ends the season with the school's single season record for hits (45), and second-highest single-season batting average at .437. Hoffman now owns the single-season triples record with six, while Constantin's 84 strikeouts are also a new mark.

• Softball final record: 18-12