Inlow powers softball past Fitchburg State, Stevenson

Bates senior Maddie Inlow batted a combined 6-for-6 with three home runs as Bates defeated Fitchburg State and Stevenson on March 12, 2017 in Clermont, Fla. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

CLERMONT, Fla. -- Senior Maddie Inlow batted a combined 6-for-6 with three home runs, and the Bates softball team wrapped up its season-opening trip to Florida with a 5-3 record on Sunday after defeating Fitchburg State 8-4 and Stevenson University 5-3.

With three wins in their last four games, the Bobcats completed their most successful season-opening trip since going 4-0 in Florida in 2011. It is also Bates' first time winning five or more of its first eight games since 1999 at the latest.

Game 1 Recap: Bates 8, Fitchburg State 4

First-year pitcher Kirsten Pelletier (Sidney, Maine) raised her record to 3-1 with her third straight victory, scattering nine hits with no walks while striking out seven in a complete-game victory.

Inlow (Falmouth, Maine) batted 3-for-3 with a double and a leadoff home run in the fourth inning, her first of the day and the season. First-year first baseman Julia Treadwell (Falmouth, Maine) went 2-for-4 with a three-run home run to left center field in the fifth inning.

Bates grabbed the early lead in the first inning, as sophomore Mimi Crowley (Barnstable, Mass.) walked, reached third on Inlow's double and came home on a sacrifice fly by junior Tori Fitzgerald (Holliston, Mass.).

Bates led 2-0 through four innings and scored four times in the fifth. Crowley reached on an error and later scored on a passed ball; that play was followed by Treadwell's homer for a 6-0 lead.

Fitchburg got on the board with a run in the bottom of the fifth, but Bates expanded its lead to 8-1 in the top of the sixth, as first-year Livie Gilbert (Turner, Maine), first-year Julia Panepinto (Buffalo, N.Y.) and sophomore Andrea Russo (Cheshire, Conn.) loaded the bases for Crowley. Crowley singled to right field to score Gilbert, and Inlow's RBI single scored Panepinto, before the Falcons escaped further damage with a double play.

The Falcons scored three times in the bottom of the seventh before Pelletier sealed the win with a groundout to first. Jessalynne Brown hit an RBI double and scored on Emily Comtois' two-run double.

Fitchburg (0-1) was playing its season opener; the Falcons finished 19-18 in 2016. Kaylee Sylvestre (0-1) started and picked up the losss, allowing two runs in three innings. Mikayla Harnois threw the final four innings and allowed six runs (four earned).

Game 2 Recap: Bates 5, Stevenson 3

Stevenson scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning, but Bates sophomore Sam Fellers (2-2) held the Mustangs scoreless the rest of the way. The sophomore righthander alllowed only one earned run on six hits and four walks in a complete-game effort.

Inlow (3-for-3, three runs, four RBIs) had a hand in all five of Bates' runs. She began by leading off the third with a single to center field; she advanced to third on Fitzgerald's double down the right-field line and scored on Treadwell's single to right.

Inlow's three-run home run in the fourth inning put the Bobcats in the lead at 4-3, and her solo home run in the sixth gave the Bobcats an insurance run at 5-3.

Russo batted 3-for-5 in the game and Fitzgerald went 3-for-4, as the Bobcats collected 13 hits in all.

Jasmyn Ogletree (0-1) started and allowed four runs on 11 hits and two walks. Morgan Fulton relieved her in the fourth and threw 3 2/3 innings, allowing one run.

Stevenson (0-2) went 17-26 in the 2016 season.

Bates' next games are a home doubleheader against the University of Southern Maine, scheduled for Wednesday, March 29 at 3pm.