Inlow's run in seventh inning gives softball a split with Nor'easters

Karen Lockhart broke Bates' single-season record for total bases during Bates' doubleheader against the University of New England on April 21, 2016. (Josh Kuckens/Bates College) 

LEWISTON, Maine -- Junior Maddie Inlow homered in the second inning and scored the game-ending run on first-year Madison Fox's single in the seventh as the Bates softball earned a split in its non-conference doubleheader against the University of New England on Thursday afternoon. UNE won the first game 7-3 and Bates took the nightcap 6-5.

With the score tied 5-5 in the bottom of the seventh, Inlow (Falmouth, Maine) hit a two-out double to left field. Fox (Denver, Colo.) then laced a single through the left side, nearly hitting Inlow on the basepath and interrupting her stride. Inlow rounded third and steamed home easily as the ball was bobbled in left field.

 

The win was the third in four games for Bates (3-23), while UNE dropped to 21-11 with its fourth loss in six games.

The Nor'easters rode the shutout starting pitching of Melissa Sprague and took advantage of four Bates errors to win Game 1.

Game 1 Recap

Sprague (2-0) held Bates scoreless over five innings while collecting nine strikeouts, including eight in the first three innings. Sophia Burnham took over in the sixth with a 7-0 lead, before the Bobcats narrowed the gap in the seventh on a three-run triple by senior Karen Lockhart (East Greenwich, R.I.).

Bates starter Kylie Martin (1-12) held UNE scoreless through three innings before the Nor'easters took a 1-0 lead in the fourth on Lauren Jones' RBI single. 

The Nor'easters broke the game open with four unearned runs in the fifth. Sydney Helmbrecht led off by reaching on an error, then stealing second and reaching third on a sacrifice bunt. Anna Sessa then bunted and reached base safely on an error as Helmbrecht scored. Amanda Vallante walked and Abby Lambert singled to load the bases, and Martin walked both Kelly Murphy and Andrea Gosper, adding two runs to UNE's lead, before the Bobcats got out of the inning with a 1-2-3 double play.

An error cost Bates again in the sixth as Helmbrecht reached on a dropped fly ball to lead off. Avery Alberghini's bunt single moved Helmbrecht to third and Vallante's RBI groundout made it 6-0. Lambert then doubled to left to score Alberghini for a 7-0 lead.

Sophomore Tori Fitzgerald (Holliston, Mass.) led off the bottom of the seventh with a single before Russo walked and sophomore Emma Schiller (Natick, Mass.) reached on an error to load the bases. Lockhart, who started the day with a conference-leading .923 slugging percentage, tripled to the center field fence to clear the bases before relief pitcher Sophia Burnham induced a game-ending popup.

Lockhart's triple gave her sole possession of Bates' single-season record for total bases, with 76. Stacia Saniuk owned the former record with 73 in 2006. Lockhart ended the day with 78 total bases and a .907 slugging percentage. She also raised her batting average to .442.

Game 2 Recap

UNE scored a run in the second and two in the third, with Bates matching the visitors in each frame, starting with Inlow's leadoff home run to left field in the second. UNE's Alexis Kapsambelis scored the first run of the game, singling and later scoring on a passed ball. 

Kaitlin Carson led off the third for UNE with a walk, and Erin Walsh followed with an bunt single. Lauren Jones then reached on an error as Carson scored, and Walsh came home on an RBI groundout by Kapsambelis.

Bates evened the game as Schiller hit a two-out double to left center to score senior Marina Barsoum (Newark, N.J.), who had singled. Lockhart kept the inning going with a single before Inlow blooped a hit inside the left-field line, scoring Schiller, but the Nor'easters kept the game tied as Lockhart was thrown out at home by Kapsambelis from third base.

Bates took the lead in the fourth as Fox led off with a fly ball misplayed in right field for a three-base error. She then scored on a groundout by sophomore Paige Ahlholm (North Andover, Mass.).

UNE tied the game back up and took the lead with two in the fifth. Carson led off with a walk and later scored on Jones' single to right. Murphy later scored Jones with a single to right center before Bates first-year pitcher Sam Fellers (Mendham, N.J.) escaped further trouble.

Inlow's two-out single to right center in the fifth scored junior Abby Abbott (Rangeley, Maine) with the tying run, following a walk by Abbott and a Lockhart single.

Fellers (2-6) held UNE scoreless over the final two innings, aided by two fine catches by Schiller in left field. Anna Sessa singled to lead off the seventh for UNE, and Fellers then walked Helmbrecht. A wild pitch moved both runners up, but on Murphy's subsequent grounder to short, pinch runner Alberghini was thrown out at home. Fellers then struck out Burnam and Schiller tracked down Paige Moore-Haskell's fly to left to end the threat.

Lambert (5-3), who came on in relief of Sydnee Bessler to start the fourth, set the first two Bates batters down in the bottom of the seventh, in Schiller and Lockhart. Inlow then lined her fourth hit of the game against the left-field fence for a double, putting her into scoring position for the game's final batter, Fox.

Bates will start a three-game home NESCAC East Division series with Tufts with a single-game Friday; game time has been moved up from 4pm to 2:30pm.