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Panther softball continues to roll

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College softball team swept a three-game series from NESCAC West rival Hamilton on Saturday and Sunday to move into a first-place tie with Wesleyan.
The 16-6 Panthers and 18-6 Cardinals, who took two of three games from third place Williams (10-15, 4-2 NESCAC West) this past weekend, each have 5-1 league marks. Middlebury will host Williams for a three-game set this Friday and Saturday.
This past weekend’s series vs. Hamilton (7-18, 1-8) was moved from Hamilton to Middlebury because of poor conditions on the Continentals’ home field; Hamilton served as the home team. On Saturday, Middlebury swept Hamilton, 4-2 and 10-1 in six innings.
Panther Elizabeth Morris struck out six and allowed one earned run in game one. Jessica Poracky gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead in the first when she singled in Jackie Stern, who had tripled. Hamilton tied the game in the bottom of the inning with an unearned run.
The Panthers made it 4-1 in the third on singles by Kimber Sable and Stern, a Jessa Hoffman triple, and Carlyn Vachow’s RBI groundout. Hamilton got its final run in the fourth, but Morris shut the door the rest of the way, receiving help in the seventh, when Sable made a diving catch down the left field line and then doubled up a runner at first to end the game.
 Middlebury pounded out 15 hits in game two. Poracky had three hits, including a double, with five RBIs. Sable finished with three singles, an RBI and two runs, while Stern, Hoffman, Emily Kraytenberg and Alex Scibetta each singled twice. Alexa Lesenskyj (4-4) earned the win, scattering seven hits and striking out one.
On Sunday, Middlebury won in eight innings, 10-8, after scoring three runs in the top of the eighth. The Panthers took a 6-3 lead with a four-run fifth in which Hoffman and Sarah Boylan had RBI singles and Poracky doubled home two.
Hamilton scored two unearned runs in the sixth, and Vachow’s solo homer made it 7-5 entering the bottom of the seventh. But Hamilton rallied to tie the game with two earned runs off Morris, who had entered in relief of starter Neve Stearns.
In the eighth, Sable and Stern singled to open the inning, Hoffman was hit by a pitch, and a Poracky sacrifice fly scored a run and advanced the baserunners. Both scored on a Vachow single. Morris allowed an unearned run in the bottom of the inning, but the Panthers held on.
Six Panthers had two hits: Scibetta and Stern singled twice; Vachow homered, singled and drove in three runs; Poracky doubled, singled and drove in three runs; Kraytenberg tripled and singled; and Sable singled, doubled and scored twice. Morris (8-1) went the final 4.1 innings, allowing two earned runs. Stearns went 3.2 innings and allowed three earned runs.

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