Panther softball emerges victorious in three out of four games

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College softball team won three out of four games this past weekend, including a sweep of a home NESCAC West doubleheader, to improve its record to 13-7.

The Panthers will host two more NESCAC doubleheaders this coming weekend: Colby visits at noon on Saturday, and Tufts will show up at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

On this past Friday, the Panthers split a non-league doubleheader at Union (4-9), winning the first, 13-3, and dropping the nightcap, 8-3.

In the opener, Middlebury broke open a close game with nine runs over the final two innings, making a winner of reliever Samantha Hausman, who tossed 3.1 innings, allowing only an unearned run on two hits while fanning three.

Pacing the offense were McKenna Lont (a hit, two runs and two RBIs), Kristyn Carroll (two hits, two runs), Hausman (three hits), Megan Fox and Tori Papaleo (two RBIs apiece), and Jordyn Johnson (a hit, two runs and an RBI.

In the second game, the Dutchwomen jumped on the Panthers for seven runs in their first at-bat, five off losing pitcher Jewel Ashbrook in a third on an inning. For Middlebury, Abby Santis poked three hits and scored a run, Jennifer Westphal and Carroll drove in runs, and Lont and Lizzie Hannafey scored.

On Saturday, the Panthers came from behind twice to sweep visiting Amherst (13-7) in a doubleheader, 5-3 and 8-5, in their home-opening series.

In the opener, the Mammoths went up by 2-0 in the top of the fourth. Middlebury got a run back in the bottom of the fourth on a Carroll single, two wild pitches, and a Fox RBI grounder. Amherst scored a run in the sixth, but Middlebury erupted for four runs in the decisive bottom of the inning.

Lont singled to start the rally, and a pinch runner scored to make it 3-2. RBI singles by Santis, Papaleo and Caitlin Viola completed the rally.

In the top of the seventh, Carroll made a diving catch in center field with two outs and runners on second and third to end the game. Ashbrook went the distance for the pitching win, allowing eight hits and two earned runs.

In the nightcap, Amherst scored three runs in the first two innings to take a 3-0 lead. Singles by Johnson and Lont in the bottom of the second made it 3-2, and the Panthers scored three times in the third to take a 5-3 lead. Fox and Papaleo belted long RBI doubles, and Carroll added an RBI single.

Middlebury tacked on another run in the fourth when Papaleo laced another RBI double, but Amherst pulled within 6-5 in the fifth on a two-run triple. Fox padded the Panther lead with a two-run single in the bottom of the fifth, and Lont went the distance on the mound for the win, allowing four earned runs on 10 hits.

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