BENNINGTON, Vt. — The Southern Vermont College softball team celebrated its first-ever victory over Lesley University Saturday afternoon as the two sides split a New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) doubleheader played at Willow Park.
The visiting Lynx (8-13, 5-3 NECC) took the day's opener 3-0 before SVC (7-10, 5-7 NECC) bounced back with a 6-3 triumph in game two, marking the first win for the Mountaineers in 12 all-time meetings between the two programs.
The Mountaineers are back at Willow Park on Sunday as they welcome Newbury College for Senior Day, honoring five departing team members before a 12 p.m. NECC twin bill. Lesley is also next in action Sunday at 12 p.m., hosting Wheelock College for a Conference doubleheader.
GAME 1: Lesley 3, Southern Vermont 0
The Lynx put up a single run in the top of the second inning for a marginal lead they would hold until the seventh. That's when Lesley tacked on a pair of insurance runs with a round tripper for the 3-0 final.
SVC senior center fielder Erika Garay (Walnut, Calif.) went 2-2 with a walk in the effort while senior third baseman Brianne Nichols (Albany, N.Y.), senior starting pitcher Emily Fleming (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.), and senior first baseman Hayley McDonald (Cohoes, N.Y.) were all 1-3 at the plate.
LU sophomore third baseman Carlyn Barker (Temecula, Calif.) was 1-4 in the batter's box, her hit being the two-run homer. Sophomore Alyson Nisbet (Clovis, Calif.) went 1-3 with an RBI while junior shortstop Selena Quezada (West Covina, Calif.) was 2-3 out of the lead-off spot. Sophomore left fielder Mekenzi Golden (Laguna Niguel, Calif.) and graduate catcher Allison Fountain (Cheshire, Conn.) both had 2-4 showings at the dish with Fountain scoring a run.
Lynx junior Jordan Thomas (Fitchburg, Mass.) improved her season record from the circle to 2-4, allowing just five hits and a walk in the seven-inning complete-game shutout. Fleming suffered the loss (3-7) while striking out eight in the contest.
After Southern Vermont stranded a runner on third to end the first, Lesley took a slim lead that would prove to be enough for Thomas. Fountain led-off the inning by ripping the ball down the line in left, quickly motoring around to third as it skipped past the SVC outfield to the fence. Fleming nearly got out of it as she induced two straight pop outs, but Nisbet came through big for LU as she singled out to left to bring in the eventual game-winning run.
Scoring was scarce over the next five innings with both sides unable to bring home its respective runners. A lead-off bunt single in the top of the seventh put a duck on the pond for the Lynx, and Barker brought her around on a two-run shot over the fence in left, her first career homer. Southern Vermont got a runner aboard in the home half of the frame, but that's all the offense the Mountaineers could manufacture as Barker tracked down a pop up in foul ground for the final out of the game.
GAME 2: Southern Vermont 6, Lesley 3
SVC put up four runs in the bottom of the first to take an early lead in game two, maintaining the 4-0 edge through the third. Lesley cut the deficit to two with a pair in the top of the fourth, but the Mountaineers answered with one of their own in the bottom of the inning. The Lynx came right back with a lone score in the fifth to once again make it a two-run ballgame, but SVC responded with a run in the bottom of the box to push it back to a three-run advantage. Southern Vermont was able to keep Lesley from scoring in the sixth and the seventh before celebrating its first-ever win over the Lynx.
Fleming had a 3-3 performance at the plate with two runs and two RBIs, helping the cause with a home run in the victory. Junior second baseman Rachel Robtoy (Baltic, Conn.) went 2-4 with a run scored and an RBI while McDonald was 1-3 with a run batted in. Jones went 1-4, and Garay was 1-3, both scoring a run for Southern Vermont.
McDonald picked up her third win in as many starts on the rubber to move to 3-3 on the year, striking out two in her five innings of work. Fleming tossed a scoreless last two frames, striking out a pair for her third save of the season. Thomas returned to the circle for Lesley to start game two, taking the loss (2-5) after giving up five runs (one earned) in 3.1 innings with the ball.
Quezada went 3-4 with a run scored in the effort while Nisbet had a 2-3 performance at the plate with an RBI. Fountain was 1-4 with a run scored and another batted in, and freshman first baseman Jillian Sbardella (Dartmouth, Mass.) went 1-3 with an RBI.
SVC started the bottom of the first by loading the bases before Lesley recorded an out. Quezada then collected a grounder and fired to home in time to get the lead runner, but the Lesley infield could not corral the next ball that was ripped off of Fleming's bat, a hit that found its way through the left side to score Robtoy for the 1-0 tally. SVC senior Kirstin Buchan (Troy, N.Y.) then fired a shot down to third that went off Barker's glove, but Quezada was able to reel it in and throw to Fountain for her second assist at the plate of the inning. With two outs, an LU error allowed the frame to continue as SVC scored twice more, and McDonald slapped a single down the line in right to plate the fourth Mountaineer run of the game.
McDonald retired the next six straight Lynx batters she faced to send the contest to the bottom of the third with Southern Vermont still ahead 4-0. The Mountaineers loaded the bases in the home half of the inning, but Thomas worked a final ground out to second to put away the side.
Lesley got on the board in the fourth inning, scoring twice to cut the SVC lead in half. After the first two Lynx batters were retired, Fountain started the offensive momentum with a single to right. Another single ensued before Sbardella dropped one into shallow left center for the first LU run of the game to cross the plate. Nisbet followed with a run-scoring single to right for the visitors to make it a 4-2 deficit.
Southern Vermont extended its lead in the home half of the box with Garay turning a one-out single up the middle into her run scored. A failed attempt to pick her off on a snap throw down to first allowed the senior captain to advance all the way to third, and Robtoy then scored the Mountaineer runner with a double sent out to left.
The Lynx loaded the pond in the top of the fifth with one out, and a grounder to third gave way for the lead runner to score as Nichols made the tag out on Barker who was headed her way. The next batter cranked a liner down to Nichols again, and the ball ticked off her glove before heading to short. Buchan was able to pick it up and flip back to Nichols, just in time to get the force out that ended the inning.
Fleming wasted no time in padding the Southern Vermont lead in the bottom of the fifth, tagging her second home run of the season to left field to make it 6-3 in favor of the hosts. Fleming allowed just a lone Lynx runner to reach in the sixth, but Lesley then got a pair aboard in the seventh with one out in its attempt to extend the game. A short pop out back to Fleming saw her turn and fire down to second to double-off the lead LU runner, ending the game for SVC's first win over Lesley.