BENNINGTON, Vt. — The Southern Vermont College softball team's 2015 Senior Day was spoiled Sunday afternoon as the Mountaineers lost to visiting Newbury College 11-1 and 12-0, both in five innings, in New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) play at Willow Park.
The Nighthawks (13-11, 8-6 NECC) allowed just one run on four hits to the Mountaineers (7-12, 5-9 NECC) in game one, and then a pair of NC pitchers combined for a staff no-hitter in a game two shutout for the sweep.
Both teams are on the road next for Tuesday non-conference contests, SVC visiting Pine Manor College for a doubleheader set to start at 3 p.m. while Newbury travels to nearby Curry College for a single 5 p.m. tilt.
Prior to the start of action, Southern Vermont recognized and honored its five departing senior members and their contributions as Mountaineers: Emily Fleming (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.), Erika Garay (Walnut, Calif.), Shelby Jones (Hoosick Falls, N.Y.), Brianne Nichols (Albany, N.Y.), and Hayley McDonald (Latham, N.Y.).
GAME 1: Newbury 11, Southern Vermont 1 (5 inn.)
Newbury took a 1-0 lead in the first before Southern Vermont came back with one of its own in the bottom of the second to tie game one. That's when the Nighthawks put up five runs for a comfortable lead, and they would pad it with three in the fourth in and two in the fifth for the early-ender.
Garay went 2-3 with an RBI out of the SVC lead-off spot while Nichols was 1-2 with a walk. McDonald went 1-2 with the bat, and senior left fielder Michelle Flores (Pico Rivera, Calif.) scored the lone Mountaineer run.
Newbury racked up 16 hits with junior center fielder Sheri Liggiero (Tewksbury, Mass.) going 4-4 while scoring three runs; she was just a home run shy of the cycle. Senior pitcher Olivia Kenyon (Canton, Mass.) was 3-3 with three runs scored and a team-best four RBIs, and junior second baseman Elizabeth Fox (Orono, Maine) had a 2-3 showing at the dish with a pair of runs batted in. Sophomore left fielder Naomi Ricciotti (Phoenix, Ariz.) added a 1-4 performance, scoring two runs and knocking in another two.
Kenyon grabbed her 11th win of the year from the circle (11-9), striking out seven while allowing just the four SVC hits. Fleming struck out three batters while suffering the loss (3-8).
A lead-off error would come back to bite SVC in the top of the first as the Newbury runner made her way to third on a Liggiero single before scoring on a sacrifice fly to left off Kenyon's bat for the 1-0 edge. Both teams got a lone single in their next half inning before the Mountaineers tied the game with a run in the home portion of the second. Flores took one off the leg to get aboard, and she moved up to second when McDonald ripped a come-backer up the middle. A walk loaded the bases for SVC, and Garay tallied her second single of the game to score her fellow California teammate for the tying run.
The stalemate wouldn't last for long as NC put up five in the top of the third to go back on top. Newbury junior shortstop Alyssa Donovan (West Haven, Conn.) started the frame with a single to right center, and two more base hits ensued to load the pond. That's when Ricciotti sent a shot out to right, a hit that hopped over the fence for the two-run ground rule double. With runners on second and third, a squeeze saw SVC throw to home but fail to apply the tag as both runners advanced safely while Newbury sophomore catcher Emily Humphries (Westborough, Mass.) made her way to first. A ground out scored the fourth Nighthawk run of the inning, and a Fox double down the line in left plated Humphries to make it a 6-1 Newbury lead.
NC added three runs on four hits in the fourth after Liggiero lined one down the left field line and got on her horse to make it a lead-off triple. Kenyon followed with a double to the same spot, and an SVC fielding miscue brought her in to score from second for the 8-1 upper hand. A Fox single later in the inning saw Ricciotti cross the dish to increase the Nighthawk lead. Kenyon then tagged a two-run homer in the fifth, her third dinger of the season, to give the Nighthawks a sizable 11-1 lead they would carry to the five-inning victory.
GAME 2: Newbury 12, Southern Vermont 0 (5 inn.)
NC once again scored a lone run in the top of the first for an early advantage before tacking up a crooked nine in the second for a commanding lead. Another two in the third all but ended it as two Nighthawk pitchers allowed just three SVC runners to reach base on two walks and a hit batter.
Liggiero added a 3-4 showing at the plate in game two with three RBIs and two runs scored while Kenyon knocked in three runs on a 2-2 showing, scoring a run in the process. Donovan went 2-4 with two runs scored, and senior third baseman Julia Flamenco (Copiague, N.Y.) was 1-3 with a pair of RBIs and a run scored.
Kenyon tossed the first two innings from the circle, retiring all six batters she faced while striking out one. Sophomore Alexa Mummery (Rochester, N.Y.) came in to finish off the no-hitter, giving up just two walks and a hit batter in her three innings of work to record her first decision of the season (1-0). McDonald took the loss (3-4), ending her streak of three wins in as many starts. Fleming threw a scoreless 2.2 innings in relief, striking out another three Nighthawks in the process.
Donovan started the game for NC with a double to right center, and she then tagged up on a fly out to right to advance 60 feet. The ensuing at bat saw her tag up once again, scoring on Kenyon's second sacrifice fly of the day for Newbury to take an early edge.
After the Mountaineers went down in order for the first time, the Nighthawk bats exploded for nine runs in the top of the second for a comfortable lead. NC tallied three straight singles to start the frame, the last being a Flamenco shot up the middle to score the two runners aboard. A hit by pitch ensued before a string of five consecutive singles allowed five runs to score for Newbury to go in front 8-0. The first out of the inning also scored a Nighthawk run as Humphries hit a sac fly to left that scored Ricciotti from third. A ground out to second allowed the last run of the box to come in, putting NC up 10-0 after 1.5 innings.
A Liggiero single to short and a Kenyon double to left plated two more for Newbury in the third, and neither team would score for the remainder of the day. A hot shot off of Nichols' bat in the bottom of the fourth looked to break up the no-no, but Newbury sophomore shortstop Lindsay Clark (Venice, Fla.) made an absolutely magnificent diving snag on full extension to her right for the line out that kept SVC out of the hit column. A lead-off walk in the bottom of the fifth preceded the Nighthawk infield turning a game-ending double play for their fourth straight victory.