MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - The Keene State College softball team rallied from a 5-0 first inning deficit by scoring 11 consecutive runs in an eventual 13-9 victory over Middlebury College in the second game of two Wednesday afternoon. The Panthers came from behind to beat the Owls 8-7 in the first game.
- Keene State: 6-12
- Middlebury: 7-9
How It Happened - Game One
In a back-and-forth opening contest, it was the Panthers who struck last, as a three-run sixth inning powered the hosts to an 8-7 win. Lauren Rousseau led KSC's offense, going 2-for-4 while driving in and scoring a pair of runs. Brooke Arruda had a double and an RBI in another 2-for-4 showing, while Olivia McGrath also had a pair of hits in four at bats. The top two in Middlebury's lineup, Sophie Bolinger and Emily Moore, combined to go 4-for-6 with two walks and four runs scored.
Keene State was on the board in their first at bats, as Molly St. Germain singled and later scored on Arruda's double. However, as was the case throughout the day in a doubleheader that saw 37 runs scored between the two teams, Middlebury hit right back with four runs in their half of the first, as a single and a pair of walks loaded the bases with no outs. The next four batters in succession all drove in a run as KSC found themselves down 4-1 after one. The scoring temporarily slowed over the next few innings, but the Owls scored twice in the fourth and four times in the fifth to surge back ahead. Trailing 5-3 entering the fifth, KSC loaded the bases with one down after Emma Pede's walk was followed by base hits from Arruda and Courtney Votto. Rousseau then followed with a third consecutive hit, a two-run single to right that tied the game at five. The Owls went up 7-5 later in the inning after a sacrifice fly from Paige Gouldthorpe and a run-scoring wild pitch. In the circle, McGrath retired the side in order in the fifth for a shutdown inning, but after the Owls stranded a pair in the sixth, ran into trouble in the bottom half of that inning.
Middlebury started the sixth with four consecutive singles, the last of which scored two to tie the game once more (7-7). Still with two on, KSC limited the damage from there, as Noelle Ruschil's sac fly was the only other run the Panthers could manage in the frame, but it proved to be enough as the home team wiggled out of trouble in the seventh to seal the win. McGrath and Gouldthorpe both reached with one down in the frame, and moved into scoring position after a wild pitch, but a pair of grounders back to pitcher Irene Margiotta ended the game.
Margiotta (5-5) picked up the win, allowing seven runs and 10 hits in seven innings. McGrath fell to 1-3 after getting dealt the loss.
How It Happened - Game Two
After falling five runs behind in the first inning, KSC roared back with 11 straight of their own and went on to gain the split after the game was shortened to five innings due to darkness. Cassie Woods doubled and tripled while reaching four times (two hits, two walks) in a four RBI effort. Votto drove in three runs, while Meghan Moran plated two. Middlebury had five players record two hits.
Five of the Panthers' 13 hits in the contest came in the opening frame as the home team raced out to a 5-0 lead. However, that advantage did not last long, as it was wiped out in KSC's half of the second, which saw 11 batters come to the plate. The big blow in the inning was Woods' bases-clearing triple that made it 5-4. The game was tied after Woods scored on St. Germain's fielder's choice, and the Owls were ahead after Pede scored on Moran's fly that was dropped by Sophia Marlino. Keene State piled on in the ensuing frames, as the third inning saw another three-RBI hit, this one a double from Votto that made it 9-5. The Panthers loaded the bases in their half of the same inning on just one hit, but could not score, and Woods was at it again in the fourth, as her double put the Owls into double-digits. KSC kept Middlebury at bay after that, scoring twice in the fifth after the home team had drawn within 11-7. In that frame, the Owls loaded the bases on a single, walk and hit batter, and Moran came through, pushing the cushion back up to six runs with a two-run single up the middle. The Panthers got the runs back, getting within 13-9, after a double and single in succession with one out, but McGrath got Ruschil to ground into a fielder's choice and Liza Tarr to fly to left before the game was called due to darkness.
Blanchette pitched the first four innings and won to improve to 2-4. Caroline Thacker fell to 0-2 for Middlebury.
Around the Horn
- Woods (12) and Votto (10) each moved into double-digit RBIs on the season after combining for eight on the day.
- KSC has won four of six all-time meetings, though they had not played the Panthers since 2014, also a split in Vermont that saw Middlebury win the first game and the Owls the second.
- Keene State is right back at it tomorrow, April 11, when they take on Castleton University in a Little East doubleheader beginning at 3:00 pm.
- Middlebury begins a three-game NESCAC series at Wesleyan University (Conn.) Friday, April 12 at 5:00 pm.