Softball Takes Pair From Amherst, Secures NESCAC Playoff Spot
April 22, 2011
Middlebury clinched the top spot in the NESCAC West, securing a place in the upcoming conference tournament, with a two-game sweep (3-2, 5-0) over Amherst in a doubleheader played at home. The Panthers (21-4, 10-1) extend their school-record winning streak to 13 games and earn the school’s fourth 20-win season. Amherst falls to 13-13 overall, 5-3 in NESCAC play. The teams will try to get game three of the series in on Saturday, weather permitting.
Game one took extra innings as the game was tied at 2-2 after seven innings of play. Jessica Poracky led off the ninth with a double to left, while Emily Burbridge did the same to plate Poracky with the game-winning run.
Tied at 1-1 in the sixth, Poracky single to third and moved to second on an error. She was replaced by pinch-runner Emily Kraytenberg before scoring on a double to left by Burbridge.
Amherst answered in the bottom of the inning with a solo homer to left by Katie Kervick, her second of the season.
The Jeffs had a chance in the eighth with a one-out triple down the right field line by Reilly Horan, but were unable to take the lead.
Geena Constantin went seven innings for Middlebury, allowing one earned run and struckout out nine. Elizabeth Morris moved to 6-0 on the season with two innings of relief, striking out four of six batters she faced. Burbridge finished with two RBI doubles, while Poracky and Hoffman each had a pair of hits, including a double.
Theresa Kelley (8-9) went the distance for the Jeffs, allowing two earned runs, while striking out 11 over eight innings of work. Horan finished 2-4 with a triple, while Kervick homered.
In the nightcap, a scoreless game was broken in the fourth after a one-out single by Constantin followed with a double by Poracky. A fielding error on the relay allowed Constantin to score from third for a 1-0 lead.
Amherst battled back in the fifth, loading the bases with two outs, but Panther hurler Ali McAnaney struck out Carolyn Miller on a 1-2 curveball to end the threat. The Panthers plated a pair in the bottom of the frame for a 3-0 lead. Nellie Wood punched a one-out single up the middle off game two starter Kelley. During Hoffman’s at-bat, Wood stole second. Hoffman followed with an RBI triple to left, scoring Wood. Leslie Crawford followed with a fielder’s choice to third, but the speedy Hoffman beat the throw to home.
Middlebury added two more in the sixth, finally solving Kelley’s pitches. Kelley, who already pitched 14 innings before reaching the sixth, was tagged with a towering leadoff homer by Poracky to left, later Emma Katz tripled to right. Katz tagged up on a daring SAC foul-out to first for the 5-0 lead, as a fielding error allowed her to score.
McAnaney (8-1) struck out six over five scoreless innings as Morris pitched the final two innings for her third save on the year. Poracky led the way, slugging a homer and a double with an RBI with a 2-3 outing. Wood was a stellar 3-3 with a double, while Hoffman and Katz each added a triple.
Kelley suffered the setback, dropping to 8-10 on the year, striking out just one batter over six innings. Horan was the lone Jeff to have a multi-hit game, going 2-3 as no Amherst hitter had an extra-base hit in game two.