BENNINGTON, Vt. — The Southern Vermont College softball team concluded its 2016 season Sunday afternoon at Willow Park, falling 8-7 to Pine Manor College in a close doubleheader opener before surging to a 12-0 win in the backend for the share.
SVC led 5-3 after the fifth in game one, but the visiting Gators came back with three in the sixth and two more in the top of the seventh to grab a two-run upper hand. The Mountaineers closed it to one with a lone score in the home half of the final frame, but they would be unable to push the tying run across as PMC finished off the victory.
Southern Vermont then put up two runs in the first inning of game two before extending its advantage with six more in the second. SVC tacked up four additional runs through the next two boxes while holding the Gators to just three hits for the early-ending shutout.
The Mountaineers finish the season with a 4-24 overall record.
SVC senior captain Rachel Robtoy (Baltic, Conn.) concluded her collegiate career on Sunday, finishing her time at Southern Vermont tied for having started in the fifth-most games in team history with 96. She also scored the second-most runs ever by a Mountaineer with 60, and she worked the most SVC walks in history with 39 bases on balls; Robtoy's 17 walks this year broke the previous program mark of 16 in a single campaign.
Sophomore captain Nicole Matthews (Pittstown, N.Y.) turned in the best-ever batting average for the team by a player with at least 50 at bats in a season, hitting .522 (36-69) in 2016. She also registered the best-ever on-base percentage in a single season with .582 mark, and she tallied the fourth-most hits in a campaign with 36. Additionally, Matthews' 24 RBIs ties for the fourth-most in team history for one year.
Freshman Lizzy Bench (Saint Petersburg, Fla.) notched the most runs batted in for Southern Vermont in 2016, her 25 ranking as the third-most in team history for a season. She also scored the most runs for SVC this year as she crossed the plate 19 times, and she was just three batting average points shy of tying the sixth-best all-time mark as Bench recorded a .408 from the batter's box.
GAME 1: Pine Manor 8 – Southern Vermont 7
Southern Vermont freshman left fielder Kayla Emmi (Syracuse, N.Y.) went 3-for-4 at the plate with a walk and two runs scored in the opener while Bench was 1-for-2 with four RBIs and a run scored. Sophomore third baseman Chloe Longe (Enosburg Falls, Vt.) had a 2-for-4 showing at the plate as senior right fielder Michelle Flores (Pico Rivera, Calif.) and freshman designated player Molly Madore (Higganum, Conn.) were both 2-for-4 with a run scored and another batted in.
Bennington College sophomore Caroline Adams (Lakeville, Mass.) struck out three Gator batters in suffering the complete-game loss (1-9) from the circle.
SVC jumped on top in the first contest of the day, tacking up three runs in the opening frame. Bench sent a double bouncing over the fence in right-center to bring two runs in, and she then scored on a single to short off the bat of freshman Christina Moore (Wilmington, Vt.).
The Gators answered with three of their own in the next box, only to see Southern Vermont regain the lead with a single run in the home half when Bench knocked a sacrifice fly to center for Madore to tag up and cross home.
SVC then went up 5-3 with another lone score in the fourth when Madore roped a run-scoring single to left, but Pine Manor then used a three-run sixth to go ahead for the first time of the day.
The Mountaineers responded with one run in the bottom of the sixth to tie it on another Bench sac fly before PMC went on top again with two in the top of the seventh. SVC fought to get the pair back in its final at bat, but the hosts would only cross once with a run-scoring Flores ground-rule double as PMC closed out the tight triumph.
GAME 2: Southern Vermont 12 – Pine Manor 0 (5 inn.)
Bench went 3-for-3 in the day-cap with five RBIs and two runs scored while Matthews was 2-for-2 with two walks, four RBIs and a run scored. Moore drove in two runs, and Emmi scored three times in the win. Freshman right fielder Carissa Bottisti (Amsterdam, N.Y.) added a 1-for-2 performance with a walk, two runs scored and a run batted in.
Southern Vermont freshman righty Taylor Blake (West Charleston, Vt.) tossed all five innings on the pitching rubber, giving up just three hits while striking out a season-best five batters to pick up her first collegiate win (1-6).
The Mountaineers took to an early 2-0 advantage in the bottom of the first, Bench doubling to left for Emmi to score before Matthews knocked another two-bagger to center for her teammate to come around.
SVC went up by eight with six runs in the second, the first of the inning being Flores when she was brought home by a Bottisti single to the right side. Bench followed with a two-run double down the line in left, and Matthews tagged an ensuing double to left-center to bring in another pair. Moore capped the frame's scoring with a single through the left side which brought Matthews home to make it an 8-0 ballgame.
Southern Vermont padded its cushion in the third with a Bench hit by pitch and a Matthews walk both coming as the bases were loaded, and Bench then slapped a run-scoring single to second in the bottom of the fourth to open up the lead to 12-0. Blake returned to the circle in the fifth and wrapped up the win for the Mountaineers to split the twin bill