Softball Splits A Pair Versus Rensselaer

April 22, 2009

Middlebury took the opening game 1-0 on a seventh inning, two-out walk-off hit against Rensselaer, and dropped the second game to the Red Hawks 7-4 on Wednesday. The Panthers (14-14) return to action on Thursday for their final two home games against Plymouth State before wrapping up their season on the road with a twin bill against Lyndon State on Friday. Rensselaer (20-6) hits the road on Friday with a game against Elms College.

A pitcher's duel combined with solid defense was the story through six innings of game one, as neither team could scratch a run across the plate. Red Hawk starter Sara Finkbeiner allowed base runners in every inning, except the third, but pitched out of each jam. Middlebury got runners to third base with less than two outs in the fifth and sixth, but could not score the go-ahead run.

Panther starter Ali McAnaney was equally strong through four innings before stepping aside for Geena Constantin in the fifth. The Red Hawks had their best chance to score thwarted in the fifth by an impressive put-out at the plate by right fielder Emily Burbridge. With two outs, Finkbeiner laced a triple to deep right field and tried to leg out an inside-the-park home run. Burbridge fielded the ball, threw to Constantin and relayed it to catcher Alyson Downing, tagging out Finkbeiner at home, keeping the game scoreless.

In the bottom of the seventh, following a two-out double by Amelia Magistrali, Finkbeiner issued a pair of walks, loading the bases. Burbridge stepped to the plate and slapped an RBI single up the middle, plating Magistrali for the 1-0 win.

Constantin (6-4) picked up the win, pitching the final three innings allowing one hit and no runs. Finkbeiner (6-2) suffered only her second setback of the season, striking out five and allowing the lone run in the seventh.

In game two, the Red Hawk broke open a scoreless game in the fourth, plating four runs off Panther starter Ashley Higgins. An RBI double by Alysa Rochminski got things going, before Finkbeiner knocked in Rochminski for a 2-0 lead. With runners on first and third, a double-steal gave Rensselaer a 3-0 advantage, before Becky Bailey knocked in Finkbeiner with an RBI double and a 4-0 lead.

Trailing 5-0 in the sixth, RBI's by Kristin Maletsky, Downing and Constantin and a fielding error keyed the four run comeback for Middlebury. With one out, Constantin's single through the left side capped the scoring as Downing was cut down at third base. Kira Gordon's line-out to short ended the threat, but the Panthers cut the Red Hawk lead to 5-4.

Rensselaer added a pair of runs off Middlebury reliever McAnaney in the seventh when Rochminski slamed a two RBI double to left field for a 7-4 lead. The Panthers threatened in the bottom of the inning with a two-out single by Megan Margel, but Red Hawk hurler Jen Bach struck out Burbridge, to end the game.

Burbridge and Margel each had a pair of hits for Middlebury, while Nellie Wood stole a pair of bases. Rochminski had a big day for the Red Hawks, going 2-3 with a pair of doubles and three RBI, as Finkbeiner and Julianne Bass each had a pair of hits.

Higgins (2-4) suffered the loss for Middlebury, working the first five innings, allowing five earned runs. Constantin pitched the sixth, allowing just a walk, while McAnaney tossed the seventh, allowing two runs (one earned). Bach went the distance for Rensselaer, giving up four runs, two earned, and striking out four to improve her records to 6-1 on the year.