Softball Storms to 18-8, 23-10 Five-inning NECC Wins at Wheelock

brooke gates fields the ball at second

BROOKLINE, Mass. – Southern Vermont College registered its second New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) softball sweep in as many days Monday afternoon as the Mountaineers won 18-8 and then 23-10 for a pair of five-inning victories over Wheelock College at Hedley Field.

SVC improves to 4-6 overall and 4-2 in league play with its four-game winning streak.

The Mountaineers are set to next host Regis College on Thursday for a Conference twin bill slated to begin at 3:30 p.m.

GAME 1: Southern Vermont 18 – Wheelock 8 (5 inn.)
Wheelock grabbed an early lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first, but Southern Vermont responded with four in the next frame. The Wildcats tacked up another two in the home half of the second, and the 4-4 score lasted through the next inning. That's when SVC opened up with 10 runs in the top of the fourth, and another four in the fifth made WC's two runs in the bottom of the fifth fruitless as the visitors were able to end the game early.

Southern Vermont senior left fielder Shea Wilson (Mesa, Ariz.) was 4-4 with a walk, three runs batted in and two runs scored in the win. Junior starting pitcher Nicole Matthews (Pittstown, N.Y.) went 2-4 with a walk, a run scored and three more RBI's while freshman designated player Sarah Billow (South Glens Falls, N.Y.) turned in a 2-3 performance at the plate with a pair of walks, two runs scored, and two runs batted in.

Freshman second baseman Brooke Gates (Pittsfield, Mass.) registered her first collegiate multi-hit game for SVC with a 2-3 showing, and she also added a walk, three runs scored and two RBI's against the Wildcats.

Matthews picked up her first win of the season from the circle (1-2) as she struck out two WC batters in her five innings of work.

After Wilson was stranded at first in the opening frame, Wheelock scored twice in the home half to take the lead. SVC came back with four runs in the second as Billow led-off the inning with a single to short. The Mountaineers loaded the bases for Gates, and the freshman singled to the left side for the visitors' first run. An ensuing walk brought in another, and Wilson would rip a single up the middle to plate a third. A Wildcat miscue allowed the fourth run to come in and put SVC on top by a pair.

A two-run double with two outs in the bottom of the second allowed Wheelock to tie the ballgame. After a scoreless third inning, Southern Vermont tacked up a crooked-10 spot for a comfortable lead. A Matthews single up the middle scored two, and consecutive walks with the bases loaded brought in another pair. Both Wilson and freshman third baseman Dana Clement (Berkshire, Mass.) recorded run-scoring singles during the big inning as SVC went on top by double digits.

WC scratched across two runs in the bottom of the fourth to make it an eight-run difference, but the Mountaineers answered with four in the fifth. SVC loaded the bases with one down, and Wilson singled to center for Gates to score.

Matthews followed with an RBI single up the middle before another pair of bases-loaded walks set the score at 18-6. A run-scoring double and a wild pitch brought in two Wheelock runs, but it wouldn't be enough as Matthews got a pair of pop outs to finish off the win ahead of schedule.

GAME 2: Southern Vermont 23 – Wheelock 10 (5 inn.)
The Mountaineer bats continued to roll in the backend of the twin bill as they put up three runs in the top of the first before exploding for another 10-spot in the second. WC trimmed its deficit with two in the home half of the second, but SVC tacked on another four in the third and five in the fifth to pull away for the decisive victory and the sweep.

Wilson continued her stellar day with a 4-5 showing at the dish—racking up three runs batted in and two more runs scored. Bench went 2-3 with a pair of walks, a home run, and a triple for seven RBI's, and she scored five fives in the win. Matthews was 2-3 with two walks, two RBI's, and two runs scored while freshman first baseman Carly Gillman (Stamford, Conn.) went 2-4 with a walk, two runs batted in and a run scored.

Wilson moved to the circle for SVC and recorded her third win (3-4) in as many appearances—striking out four in her five innings on the rubber.

A Matthews single to right-center scored Bench from second in the top of the first, and a Billow sacrifice fly to center allowed Wilson to trot in from third for the second run of the game. Gillman then tripled to center to bring Matthews home and make it a 3-0 game.

SVC expanded its lead in a big way in the second as the Mountaineers scored 10 times on six hits. Wilson tagged a run-scoring single to center, and Billow soon-after followed with an RBI hit to third. Bench would rope a three-run triple down the line in left before scoring on a Wilson double to right for the 13-0 upper hand.

Wheelock put up two in the bottom of the second—only to see the Mountaineers come back with four in the third with three hits and a two-run error by WC. Wilson notched a run-scoring single to left before Bench scampered home on a wild pitch.

After the Wildcats tacked on another pair in the bottom of the third, Southern Vermont grabbed another five. With the bases loaded, Bench knocked one into the outfield and sped around the diamond for an inside-the-park grand slam. WC was able to cross the plate another six times in its final two trips to the plate, but it would fall far short of keeping the game going as the Mountaineers closed out the sweep.