Softball Drops Tight One At Amherst

April 20, 2008

Amherst scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to pick up a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over Middlebury. Middlebury played a textbook first inning to jump out to an early 2-0 lead, with the Panthers' rookie class providing all of the offense. Emily Burbridge led off with a single through the left side before Carlie Crawford and Megan Margel executed a sacrifice bunt and singled to right field, respectively. After Margel stole second to set up second and third with one out, starting pitcher Geena Constantin doubled to center field for a pair of RBIs.

Constantin was just as effective on the mound in the early going, holding the Jeffs scoreless through three innings. Amherst got its first run in the fourth when Emily Neill led off with a double and was driven in by an RBI-single from Kelly King two batters later to cut the hosts' deficit in half.

Amherst starting pitcher Alex Chang-Graham settled down after the first inning and got into a rhythm, striking out the side in the top of the third before a 1-2-3 inning in the fourth. The Panthers threatened with runners on first and third in the sixth inning and again with runners on base in the seventh, but Chang-Graham got out of her jams.

The pitching duel kept things exciting throughout the game, and it wasn't until the seventh inning that Amherst was able to tack on its second run. Emily Bularzik singled up the middle with one out and advanced to second on a passed ball. Jackie Tyler followed up with a single to center field and advanced to second base on the throw in from the outfield, as the Jeffs suddenly had a pair of runners in scoring position.

With runners on second and third, Sam Presnal sent a dribbler back to the mound. Constantin checked Bularzik at third before firing to first, but the throw got away and allowed Amherst to score the tying run, still with only one out in the inning and now with Tyler standing on third. Neckes took over from there and sent a deep fly ball to right center, allowing Tyler to cruise in for the game-winning run.

In addition to going 2-3 at the plate, Chang-Graham picked up her seventh win of the season by allowing just two earned runs on seven hits for the complete-game victory, striking out five and walking none along the way. Constantin struck out three and scattered 10 hits in 6.1 innings and did not walk a batter, as she picked up the loss to move to 3-5 on the year.

Tyler and Chang-Graham were the lone Jeffs with multiple hits, with Neckes and King each providing a crucial RBI. Burbridge and Constantin each had two hits for Middlebury.