Softball's offense impresses in doubleheader against Tufts

Emma Schiller tallied three hits in Saturday's doubleheader against Tufts. (File photo by Josh Kuckens/Bates College) 

LEWISTON, Maine -- Going up against the defending national champion Tufts University Jumbos, the Bates softball team's offense put together a very good day at the plate. But Tufts managed to sweep Saturday's doubleheader, winning game one 12-5 and hanging on to prevail 10-7 in game two.

Game One: Tufts 12, Bates 5

The Jumbos took an early lead in game one and kept the Bobcats at arm's length throughout the game to win 12-5. 

Christina Raso singled to start the game and promptly stole second. One out later she advanced to third on a wild pitch. Raso came in to score when a Bates error allowed Raven Fournier to reach safely. Summer Horowitz hit a two-run homer to put the Jumbos up 3-0.

Sara Willner-Giwerc doubled to begin the second inning. One out later Raso singled her in to extend the lead to 4-0.

But the Bobcats came roaring back in the third inning. First-year Andrea Russo (Cheshire, Conn.) singled to start the frame. Sophomore Emma Schiller (Natick, Mass.) followed with a single of her own. A Tufts error loaded the bases and junior Maddie Inlow (Falmouth, Maine) singled in a run. Sophomore Tori Fitzgerald (Holliston, Mass.) followed with an RBI grounder to cut the deficit to 4-2. With two away, a wild pitch scored another run and Bates pulled to within one.

The Jumbos got three insurance runs in the top of the fifth. A single, a walk, and another single loaded the bases with nobody out. Raina Galbiati singled in a pair of runs and two outs later Willner-Giwerc singled in another to make the score 7-3 in favor of Tufts.

Bates didn't back down, responding with two of their own in the bottom of the fifth.

Senior Karen Lockhart (East Greenwich, R.I.) and Inlow got things started with back-to-back singles. Fitzgerald reached on a fielder's choice, putting runners at the corners. Sophomore Paige Ahlholm (North Andover, Mass.) doubled in Lockhart and sophomore Maria Garbarino (Reading, Mass.) singled in Fitzgerald to cut the Tufts lead to 7-5.

But in the top of the sixth, Horowitz hit her second long ball of the game, this one a three-run blast to put the Jumbos up 10-5.

Bates went down in order in the sixth and Tufts scored two more times in the seventh for the final margin of victory.

Erica Country (15-3) went the distance for Tufts, giving up five runs (four earned) on eight hits in seven innings of work for the win. She walked one and struck out three.

Inlow went 2-4 with an RBI at the plate. Seven different Bobcats recorded a hit in the contest. Lockhart scored a pair of runs while Russo went went 1-3 with a run scored and the lone walk of the game for Bates.

Game Two: Tufts 10, Bates 7

The Jumbos led game two 10-1 at one point before having to hold on for dear life to secure the 10-7 victory.

Each team plated a run in the first inning. 

In the top of the first, Raso reached on a Bates error and immediately stole second. One out later Fournier drew a walk. A Horowitz single loaded the bases and with two outs Maggie Hoffman singled in a run. 

Bates tied things up in the bottom half of the frame. Russo reached on a hit-by-pitch. Schiller reached on a sacrifice bunt thanks to a Tufts error. Both runners moved up 90 feet on a Lockhart ground-out. Inlow drove in Russo with a sacrifice fly but Schiller got thrown out at third on the play to end the inning.

In the top of the second, with two outs and nobody on, Raso singled. Willner-Giwerc hit a sharp grounder through Inlow's legs that went all the way to the wall, scoring Raso and giving Tufts a 2-1 lead.

The Jumbos flexed their muscles in the fourth inning to extend their advantage to 7-1. An error, a single and a wild pitch put runners at second and third with one out. Willner-Giwerc's sacrifice fly put the Jumbos up 3-1.

Fournier homered to make it 5-1. Then Horowitz homered to make it 6-1. Then Galbiati homered, giving the Jumbos back-to-back-to-back long balls and a 7-1 lead.

In the top of the fifth, a walk, two wild pitches and an error led to another run for Tufts. Willner-Giwerc's RBI single and another wild pitch plated two more runs and Bates found themselves down 10-1.

But the Bobcats refused to back down. Russo and Schiller tallied back-to-back singles to begin the bottom of the fifth. Lockhart got hit by a pitch to load the bases with nobody out. Two outs later Ahlholm and Garbarino delivered back-to-back RBI singles to make the score 10-3 in favor of Tufts.

After the Jumbos failed to score in the top of the sixth, Bates scored four more times in the bottom half of the frame. 

Senior Marina Barsoum (Newark, N.J.) reached on an error to begin the inning. One out later Schiller reached on another Tufts error. Lockhart singled in Barsoum and with two outs Fitzgerald doubled in Schiller and Lockhart. After Ahlholm singled, Garbarino singled home Fitzgerald to pull the Bobcats to within three runs. 

Tufts was forced to bring starting pitcher Raina Galbiati back in the game at that point and she was able to get the final out of the inning.

With one out in the seventh, Bates brought the tying run to the plate after Russo got hit by a pitch and Schiller singled. But Galbiati was able to get Lockhart to pop out and Inlow to pop out (runner's interference was called on the play) to end the game. 

Bates tallied 12 hits in game two but also committed five errors in the field. Of the 10 runs given up by the trio of first-year pitchers Sam Fellers (Mendham, N.J.), Kylie Martin (Poland, Maine) and Mimi Crowley (Barnstable, Mass.) only two were earned. 

The Bobcats hit the road Sunday to take on Brandeis in a doubleheader. First pitch is set for 2:00 p.m.