April 9, 2012

The Middlebury College softball team took the first game of a double header against visiting Union College 7-2, but dropped the second game 3-1 on Tuesday.

Leading 2-1 after three innings in game one, Middlebury scored three runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth for a decisive 7-1 lead. In the fourth, senior Alyson Downing (Rumney, N.H.) open with a single, twice moving 60 feet on consecutive infield outs, as rookie Christina Bicks (Ridgewood, N.J.) plated her with a two-out infield single. Junior Jessa Hoffman (Golden, Colo.) followed with a single before junior Jessica Poracky (Ramsey, N.J.) knocked both runners home with a double, giving Middlebury a 5-1 lead after four innings. The Panthers made it a 7-1 game in the fifth on a bases-loaded single by junior Emma Katz (Northridge, Calif.) that scored a pair of runs.

Union closed the gap to 7-2 on a two-out single in the seventh when Allyson Staats punched a single to left with runners on first and third. Later with the bases loaded, Samantha Chevalier made the final out, grounding out to Hoffman at shortstop to end the threat.

Poracky went 3-3 with a double and three RBI for Middlebury, while Katz, Hoffman and sophomore Kimber Sable (Winnetka, Ill.), each had two hits. Sophomore Alexa Lesenskyj (Robbinsville, N.J.) (5-3) went the distance in the circle, tossing seven innings, allowing two earned runs.

In game two, all the scoring happened in the first two innings as Union took a quick 2-0 lead in the first. With Erika Hillenbrand on first base, Nina Cervini knocked a two-out double to left center, scoring Hillenbrand. Amanda Blake followed with an RBI single to right center, scoring Cervivi for the lead.

Middlebury scored their lone run in the bottom of the frame as Hoffman earned a two-out walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Poracky followed with a single scoring Hoffman to make it a 2-1 game. A pair of singles by sophomore Emily Kraytenberg (Londonderry, N.H.) and sophomore Alex Scibetta (Ridgewood, N.J.) loaded the bases, but an infield pop-out to first by junior Sarah Boylan (Danvers, Mass.) ended the threat.

The final run came quickly in the second when Chevalier opened the frame launching a home run over the left field fence for a 3-1 lead.

Middlebury collected four more singles during the rest of the game. The Panthers singled with two-outs in the second, fourth and fifth innings, but couldn’t follow through with another timely hit to close the gap. Middlebury went down in order in the sixth and after Katz earned a two-out walk in the seventh, Bicks grounded out to first base to end the game.

Middlebury was paced by Hoffman’s 2-2 game, with a double and a run scored. First-year player Kelsey Martel (Concord, N.H.) (2-3) took the loss pitching the first three innings, then re-entering in the seventh. Martel gave up three earned, striking out a pair, while sophomore Elizabeth Morris (Kenilworth, Ill.) pitched three scoreless innings, also striking out two.

Middlebury swept two games versus Castleton 7-2 and 13-3, with the latter ending in five innings. On the day the Panthers pounded out 22 hits, including 10 for extra-bases.

Leading 1-0 after two innings in game one, the Panthers scored three in the third. Hoffman’s team-leading fifth triple plated a pair of runs. Poracky knocked Hoffman home with a crisp single to center for a 4-0 lead.

Trailing 5-0, Castleton (6-12) scratched a run across in the sixth when Stephanie Sylvester laced a two-out RBI triple to right center. Middlebury answered with two in the bottom of the frame for a 7-1 lead after six innings. A two-out, RBI double from the Spartans’ Tori Fearon capped the scoring in the top of the seventh.

Poracky and Kraytenberg each had two hits in the opener along with an RBI, while Hoffman also had a pair of hits and three RBI to pace the Panthers. Morris pitched the first three innings allowing one hit and recording five strikeouts. Morris yielded to first-year pitcher Marcela Olvera (Gurnee, Ill.) in the fourth as Olvera (1-0) earned the win, pitching four innings, allowing one earned run.

            In game two, Middlebury used two huge innings to blow the game wide open. In a scoreless second inning, Middlebury scored eight runs on five hits with three Spartan errors. Leading 2-0, Hoffman hit a bases-loaded double down the left field line scoring two more runs highlighting the rally.

            Trailing 8-0 in the top of the third, Castleton answered with three runs. With two outs and the bases loaded, Shannon Jipner cleared the bases with a three-run double to left center. With the Panther lead cut to 8-3, Middlebury answered in the bottom of the frame with five more runs. With runners on second and third with one out, Hoffman doubled to the base of the centerfield wall scoring two more runs. Poracky followed with a two-run homer to deep left center for a 12-3 lead. After Kraytenberg doubled to left center, Boylan smacked an RBI triple to cap the scoring.

            Five Panthers collected two hits in game two, including Sable and Kraytenberg who each had a single and a double. Hoffman went 2-4 with a pair of doubles and four RBI, while Boylan hit a pair of triples on a 2-2 game with two runs and one RBI, and Poracky added an RBI SAC fly to her two-run homer. Martel (3-3) got the win, pitching five innings, allowing three earned runs.

Middlebury took the first game of a three-game NESCAC West series from Hamilton 8-0 in five innings, as Hoffman’s two-run single ended the contest in the bottom of the fifth.

Hamilton had a chance to change the complexion of the game in the first inning. The Continentals opened the game with consecutive singles, ending up with runners on second and third with no outs. Lesenskyj got out of the jam, enticing a pair of infield put-outs to the number three and four hitters before striking out Mellisa Kaknis to end the threat.

            The Panthers exploded with five runs in the second, as Kraytenberg opened the frame with a double. Later with runners on second and third and one out, Downing hit a SAC fly to center, plating Kraytenberg from third. With two outs and the bases loaded, Hoffman reached on a fielding error that allowed two more runs to score. Poracky followed with an RBI single for the fifth run.

            After a solo homer by Boylan in the third inning giving Middlebury a 6-0 lead, Hamilton was in a position to strike back in the fifth with runners on first and second and no outs. A liner to Hoffman at shortstop turned into a double play at first base, taking some momentum away. Morris, who entered in the fifth, followed the twin-killing by striking out the next batter for the third out.

            Trailing 6-0 in the bottom of the fifth, the Continentals missed a put-out during a fielder’s choice that loaded the bases with one out. After a strikeout toss by Hamilton’s Kelly Leonard got the second out, Hoffman stepped to the plate. Hoffman delivered, hitting a sharp single through the left side scoring two runs, ending the contest.

            Katz went 2-2 on the day for Middlebury including a triple, while scoring two runs. Poracky and Scibetta each had two hits on the day, as Boylan’s four-bagger was the longest hit of the day. Lesenskyj (6-3) earned the win, going four scoreless innings, striking out five. Morris pitched one inning of relief.

Middlebury completed a three-game sweep of Hamilton by taking a pair of 8-0 games on Saturday afternoon, both in five innings. The Panthers took all three games in five innings, outscoring the Continentals (6-14, 0-6) by a score of 24-0, while out-hitting their opponents, 34-9. The Panthers (13-7, 3-0) have now won five straight games and nine of their last 10.

Morris was the story in game one for Middlebury, earning the win with the five inning complete game two-hit shutout. Morris struck out 11 of 15 batters, including the first six of the game, lowering her season ERA to a miniscule 0.73.

Middlebury scored in every inning of the game, with eight extra base hits. Leading 1-0 in the second inning, Sable scored from third when Downing was thrown out stealing at second base. Back-to-back doubles from Katz and Scibetta made it a 3-0 game.

Poracky’s single through the left side in the third plated Hoffman, who led off the inning with a double to left.

Middlebury added two more runs in the fourth, with an RBI groundout by Bicks to plate Katz. Hoffman followed with a triple to left center, before scoring on a single to left by Poracky.

A single through the left side started the fifth for the Panthers, as she moved to third on a double to right from Katz with one out. Scibetta ended the game with a double to left, plating both Katz and Sable to end game one.

Scibetta finished 3-4 with three doubles and three RBI, while Katz was 3-3 with three doubles and three runs scored. Hoffman ended the game 2-3 with a double, triple and two runs scored, while Poracky and Sable each added a pair of hits.

Leading 1-0 in the third inning of game two, Bicks tripled to left to drive in Scibetta for the 2-0 lead. Hoffman followed with an RBI groundout to plate Bicks, making it a 3-0 game.

Hamilton’s biggest threat came in the third inning where they loaded the bases with one out. Martel was able to get a strikeout and a groundout to end the inning, keeping it a 3-0 contest.

A two-run double by Scibetta in the fourth inning scored Downing and Boylan, while Bicks followed with an RBI single to plate Scibetta.

Poracky led off the fifth with a single to center, scoring on a triple to right by Kraytenberg. One batter later, Kraytenberg scored the game-winning run and a ground ball to second by Sable.

Bicks finished 3-3 with a triple, two runs scored and two RBI. Scibetta was 2-3 with a double, two runs scored and two RBI, while Kraytenberg tripled. Martel earned the win, striking out four in the five inning two-hit shutout.
• Softball team record: 13-7
• Up next: 4/10 @ Skidmore, 4/13 vs. Wesleyan (1) – 5:00, 4/14 vs. Wesleyan – 12:00