QUEENSBURY, N.Y. — The Southern Vermont College and Regis College softball teams both opened their New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) schedules Thursday afternoon, the Pride sweeping the doubleheader played at the Adirondack Sports Complex.
A twin bill that was scheduled to be SVC's home opener was relocated as outdoor fields in the Northeast continue to be unplayable. Regis held on for a 5-2 win in the first game before slugging its way to a 14-3 victory in five innings during the day-cap.
The Pride improve to 3-4 on the year (2-0 NECC) while Southern Vermont slides to 2-5 (0-2 NECC).
The Mountaineers are next slated to host Elms College on Monday for their true home opener, the NECC twin bill scheduled to start at 1 p.m. at Willow Park in Bennington. The Pride are off until Wednesday when they visit Fitchburg State University for a 3 p.m. non-conference doubleheader.
GAME 1: Regis 5, Southern Vermont 2
RC never trailed in the opener after grabbing two runs in the top of the second. Southern Vermont responded with one of its own in the bottom of the inning, but the Pride added a third in the visitors' half of the fourth. Regis put up two more in the sixth before the Mountaineers scored once in the ensuing half inning. RC then kept SVC from mounting a comeback in the seventh for its second win of the season.
Three Regis players tallied a pair of hits including junior pitcher Katie Cuozzo (Lynn, Mass.) who helped herself with a 2-3 showing and a pair of runs scored. Sophomore shortstop Rachel DesRochers (Westford, Mass.) went 2-3 with three RBIs out of the nine-hole, and senior center fielder Kelsey Heath (Lowell, Mass.) finished the game 2-3 with a run scored and another batted in.
Cuozzo took the complete-game win from the circle (2-3), giving up just one earned run on four hits in her seven innings of work; she struck out five while surrendering a pair of walks on the day. SVC senior righty Emily Fleming (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) suffered the loss (1-4), striking out six Pride batters in her seven frames with the ball.
Fleming got off to a strong start on the rubber, striking out the Regis side in the top of the first. SVC used a walk and a sacrifice to get a runner in scoring position, but the Pride were able to execute a 1-3-5 double play on a chopper back to the pitcher to get out of the inning.
The top of the second saw Fleming retire the first two batters she faced, but Regis then got a string of hits together to grab the lead. A Heath shot to right center bounced over the fence for the ground-rule double, and the Pride got some help from the roof when a pop-up to Fleming ricocheted away from the Mountaineer fielders before finding fair territory. DesRochers then ripped a grounder up the middle for the first RC run to cross the dish. Junior left fielder Kirbie Garvey (Littleton, Mass.) beat out a ball hit to second while sophomore catcher Rachel Tortora (Malden, Mass.) came in to score to increase the lead; DesRochers rounded second and faulted on the base path as SVC returned the ball to the pitcher's circle, being called out to end the inning.
Southern Vermont answered with one in the bottom of the frame as a pair of Regis mishaps came back to hurt. SVC shortstop Shelby Jones (Hoosick Falls, N.Y.) advanced to second on a Buchan bloop to right that found its way between three Pride fielders, and the senior then came in to score as the throw on a sacrifice bunt attempt was sent into the outfield. With runners at the corners and no outs, Fleming got a hold of one on what looked to be a promising liner; the ball was snagged by DesRochers at short, however, and Cuozzo then got out of the jam with two straight strikeouts.
Both sides went down in order in the third, Fleming working two K's from the circle while Regis junior first baseman Alyssa McKinnon (Raynham, Mass.) was part of three infield ground outs in the bottom of the box. Cuozzo started the top of the fourth with a laced shot to the gap in right center, a ball that found its way to the fence as she made her way safely to third. Heath followed with a one-out liner that glanced off Fleming's glove before making it up the middle through the infield, easily scoring the Pride hurler from third. That would be all RC would get in the inning as Fleming got the next two batters, sending the game to the bottom of the fourth with Regis on top 3-1.
A lead-off error would be quickly erased as SVC was doubled-off on a liner back to the pitcher. RC got out of the inning but wouldn't be in the dugout for long as Fleming put down the Pride in order to get out of the top of the fifth. Southern Vermont senior left fielder Michelle Flores (Pico Rivera, Calif.) roped a one-out seeing-eye single through the left side in the bottom of the frame, but she would be caught stealing for the inning to end with Regis clinging to its 3-1 edge.
The Pride were able to pad their advantage in the top of the sixth after loading the pond with no outs on three straight singles. Fleming induced a pop-out and a fly-out to center, but DesRocher wouldn't let her get out of it that easily as she tagged a two-run double to left for the 5-1 lead.
Southern Vermont then tacked up one of its own in the bottom of the sixth to get back to within three. A Robtoy walk would result in a Mountaineer run as she scored on the subsequent at bat; SVC senior third baseman Brianne Nichols (Albany, N.Y.) dropped one into shallow right, allowing Robtoy to touch second and keep motoring on to third. Pride sophomore right fielder Jenna Casello (Westborough, Mass.) tried to gun her out from the outfield, but the ball sailed out of bounds for the SVC captain to be awarded home. The inning was extended when Southern Vermont got some help of its own from the dome's cover, a Buchan pop-up bouncing off the roof and finding the turf before RC junior second baseman Michaela NeJaime (Sandisfield, Mass.) could get her whole glove around it. Cuozzo worked out of the first-and-third situation, however, as an inning-ending liner to first kept it a 5-2 Regis upper hand.
The seventh saw six straight outs as both sides went down in order, Cuozzo getting the last two Mountaineers to strikeout for the complete-game victory.
GAME 2: Regis 14, Southern Vermont 3 (5 inn.)
The second matchup of the day saw both teams score three in the first, SVC's coming on a Fleming jack to center. Regis came back in the second to chalk up six runs, and Southern Vermont would be hard-pressed to score through the remainder of the game. RC added two more in the fourth and another three in the next box to put the game out of reach for SVC and wrap up the series after five innings.
Southern Vermont senior captain Erika Garay (Walnut, Calif.) was 2-3 at the plate with a run scored while Fleming finished 1-2 with the three RBIs and one run scored. Nichols was 1-2 while stealing a base and scoring a run, and Jones went 1-2 with her hit being a double.
RC totaled 18 hits in game two, four coming from DesRochers (4-4) who added a pair of runs scored. Cuozzo added a 3-4 showing with two triples, three RBIs and three runs scored while freshman catcher Alexa NaJaime (Sandisfield, Mass.) went 2-3 with a run scored and three more batted in.
Pride junior left-hander Marissa Magarian (Goffstown, N.H.) went all five innings in the circle, giving up the three runs on five hits for her first win of the season (1-1). Mountaineer senior righty Hayley McDonald (Latham, N.Y.) took the loss (0-1) in her first appearance of the year with Fleming recording another three strikeouts in 1.1 innings of relief.
Regis jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the top of the first of game two after loading the bases with two outs. Alexa NeJamie ripped one towards second base where Robtoy extended to snag the ball, but the Mountaineer didn't have enough time to record an out after picking herself off the turf as a pair of Pride runners crossed the plate. An SVC fielding miscue allowed the third runner to come in before a ground out to Robtoy ended the frame.
RC wouldn't stay ahead for long as Southern Vermont came back with three in the home half of the first. Garay got on with a slap up the middle, and Nichols then dropped one into center to put runners on the corners. A fly out and strong throw to the plate kept them there with two down, but that's when Fleming came through with a blast to center, her first homer of the season being a three-run shot to tie things up.
The top of the second saw the Pride put up a crooked number with a few deep knocks. A throwing error put RC runners at first and third with one down, and Cuozzo then brought them both in when she stepped into one and sent it to the fence in right for the three-bagger. With ducks still at the corners, Regis tried a double steal that paid off more than the Pride had hoped for; a pair of throwing miscues by SVC allowed both runs to score for RC to take a 7-3 lead. After a single and a pop-out, Garvey launched her second dinger of the year over Garay's head in center for the Pride to go up 9-3 with the two-out blast.
After the Mountaineers went down in order to complete the second inning, DesRochers slapped a two-out triple to right in the third. She would be stranded there, however, as Buchan made the third out from short. Magarian induced three straight ground outs in the bottom of the third to keep the score intact, and the Pride put up another pair in their following trip to the plate. Two doubles down the line in left brought the first run around to score before Michaela NeJamie plated her sister Alexa with an RBI single to center.
Regis erased a lead-off SVC double in the bottom of the fourth when Heath caught a fly ball and fired to second for the double play. The hot RC hitting continued into the fifth as four singles and another Pride triple gave way for three runs and the 14-3 lead. The Mountaineers worked a pair of runners to scoring position in the bottom of the fifth, but Magarian got the final out by way of a pop-up to end the complete-game victory.