Softball Wins NESCAC West Opener Against Hamilton

April 6, 2012

Middlebury took the first game of a three-game NESCAC West series from Hamilton 8-0 in five innings, as Jessa Hoffman’s two-run single ended the contest in the bottom of the fifth. With the win, the Panthers improve to 11-7 and have a 1-0 NESCAC West record, while the Continentals drop to 0-4 in conference play and sit at 6-12 for the season. The teams return on Saturday for a twin-bill beginning at noon.

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. Middlebury hurler Alexa 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 Emily Kraytenberg opened the frame with a double. Later with runners on second and third and one out, Alyson 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. Jessica Poracky followed with and RBI single for the fifth run.

After a solo homer by Sarah 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. Reliever Elizabeth 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.

Emma Katz went 2-2 on the day for Middlebury including a triple, while scoring two runs. Poracky and Alex 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.

Hamilton was held to five singles, but lead-off hitter Jenn Rougeux collected two of them. Leonard went 4.2 innings in the circle, striking out five, while three of the of the eight runs that crossed the plate were earned.

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