BENNINGTON, Vt. — Southern Vermont College dropped a pair of New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) softball contests Wednesday afternoon at Willow Park, being downed by Becker College 10-0 in six innings before falling 21-1 in five innings.
After BC clung to a tight 3-0 victory in the opener, Becker put up four runs in the fifth and another three in the sixth for the run rule to forgo the final frame. The Hawks then jumped out to a huge upper hand in the first two innings of the nightcap, putting the game out of reach as they finished off the sweep.
Both teams play at home next on Saturday in league series, SVC (3-21, 2-13 NECC) welcoming Mitchell College to Willow for a 1 p.m. start while Becker (21-9, 14-0 NECC) hosts Regis College for a 12 p.m. first pitch. Saturday will also serve as the Mountaineers' Senior Day as they will recognize and honor four departing team members prior to the start.
GAME 1: Becker 10 – Southern Vermont 0 (6 inn.)
BC notched two runs in the top of the second in game one, that 3-0 edge holding through the fourth as scoring was scarce. The Hawks then crossed four times in the fifth before adding another three while finishing off the shutout.
Mountaineer sophomore catcher Nicole Matthews (Pittstown, N.Y.) and freshman Lizzy Bench (Saint Petersburg, Fla.) were both 1-for-3 in the effort as SVC was hard-pressed to manufacture any offense by Becker senior right-hander Kelsey Norberg (Uxbridge, Mass.).
Norberg improved to 13-3 from the circle with the win, giving up just the two hits while striking out 11 Mountaineers on the day. Bennington College sophomore Caroline Adams (Lakeville, Mass.) took the loss (1-8) from the rubber, striking out two with the start for SVC.
BC sophomore third baseman Samantha Lee (Prospect, Conn.) was 3-for-3 with two runs scored as sophomore second baseman Rebecca Carkhuff (Amherst, Mass.) went 1-for-2 with a walk, two RBIs and two runs scored. Sophomore designated player Brianna Herforth (Peru, Mass.) tallied a 2-for-4 showing at the plate, scoring a run and driving in another.
Norberg struck out the side in order to end the first before the Hawks tacked up three runs in the second. Junior first baseman Ashley Ciepiela (Adams, Mass.) tagged a two-out double to the gap in left-center for Lee to come around from second, and Carkhuff followed with a run-scoring single the same way. Senior Katelyn MacLean (North Reading, Mass.) would then add another RBI single to left for the Hawks to go ahead 3-0.
SVC worked two on with no outs in the bottom of the box, but Norberg was able to get out of it unscathed to preserve the lead. She then got SVC to go down in order in both the third and the fourth before Becker added to its upper hand in the fifth. One run scored on a fielder's choice off the bat of Carkhuff, and a bases-loaded Mountaineer miscue in the outfield allowed three Hawks to come around and touch home to make it a 7-0 ballgame.
Norberg continued her dominance from the circle with another 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the fifth, and BC then got its eight runs of separation in the sixth with three scores. Herforth registered an RBI single to right center, and a sacrifice fly ensued for the second run of the frame to come in. A double down the line in left put the Hawks on top 10-0, giving the Mountaineers just one final chance.
A two-out error gave way for an SVC batter to reach safely, and Bench then tallied her single into left-center to get a pair onboard. But Norberg got her 11th strikeout of the day to finish off the win.
GAME 2: Becker 21 – Southern Vermont 1 (5 inn.)
Game two started with Becker scoring four runs in the top of the first before the Hawks blew the game open with 17 runs in the second. Southern Vermont was able to scratch across one in the fourth, but that would be it for the hosts as BC closed out the sweep. The win came in the 500th career game for Becker's Richard Hurley as a collegiate head coach.
Matthews was 1-for-2 in the second game of the day while freshman left fielder Kayla Emmi (Syracuse, N.Y.) went 1-for-2 with a run scored.
Becker freshman shortstop Jennifer VanAlphen (Hudson, N.Y.) went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and three runs scored in the win while senior outfielder Jaclyn Orangio (Maynard, Mass.) was 3-for-4 with four runs scored and an RBI. Lee was 1-for-4 with a walk, three runs batted in and two runs scored as freshman Megan Klemanchuck (Pawtucket, R.I.) turned in a 2-for-2 performance with the stick, driving in three runs and scoring three others.
Lee moved to the circle and picked up the win (7-6), going a strong five innings for the complete game as she surrendered just one run on two hits and struck out six. Matthews was issued the loss (2-8) with the start.
Klemanchuck tagged a two-run single up the middle to make it a 3-0 Hawk lead in the first, and a Carkhuff ground out to the pitcher allowed Klemanchuck to score for the four-run advantage.
After Lee's first 1-2-3 inning, Becker jumped out to its big frame to seize a sizable amount of separation. Lee helped herself with a three-run double to the gap in right-center, and Orangio would soon-after register the first of four consecutive run-scoring singles. Freshman Vasia Murphy (Dracut, Mass.) capped the scoring with a two-run single down the line in right as the Hawks went in front comfortably.
Lee's bid for a perfect game came to an end in the fourth when Emmi led-off the inning with a single slapped out to right-center, and a Hawk fielding mishap allowed the Mountaineer to score from second to get the hosts on the board. Matthews ripped a base hit through the left side to put a pair on the pond with one down, but Lee was able to retire the next two batters to end the inning.
Neither side could do much in the fifth, Lee closing out the sweep with a pair of strikeouts for the Hawks to remain undefeated in NECC action.