Pelletier throws softball's first no-hitter since 2013

Sophomore Kirsten Pelletier struck out a career-high 11 batters on her way to tossing the first no-hitter by a Bates College pitcher since 2013 on Tuesday, March 6, 2018 in Clermont, Fla. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

CLERMONT, Fla. -- Sophomore and Maine native Kirsten Pelletier struck out a career-high 11 batters on her way to tossing a no-hitter in the Bates softball team's 6-0 victory over North Central University Tuesday afternoon. The Bobcats (1-1) dropped their night cap on Tuesday to Dominican University by a count of 7-2.

Bates 6, North Central University 0  

Pelletier (Sidney, Maine) becomes the first Bates pitcher to throw a no-hitter since Caroline Gattuso '13 threw a five-inning perfect game against Fisher College in 2013. Pelletier is the first Bates pitcher this century to toss a seven-inning no-hitter. The Messalonskee High School graduate and 2016 Gatorade Maine High School Player of the Year allowed just two Rams (0-3) to reach base in the contest.

After Pelletier (1-0) struck out a pair in a 1-2-3 first inning, the Bobcats gave her all the run support she needed by scoring six times in the bottom of the frame.  

With one out, first-year Caroline Bass (Newton, Mass.) reached on an infield single. She promptly stole second and sophomore Julia Panepinto (Buffalo, N.Y.) drew a walk. First-year Payton Buxton (Middlebury, Vt.) followed with a single that drove in Bass. Panepinto also scored on the play thanks to a Ram error. 

Senior captain Tori Fitzgerald (Holliston, Mass.) drew a walk and first-year Mary Collette (Watertown, Conn.) singled in Buxton to extend the lead to 3-0. Fitzgerald advanced to third on the play and scored on a wild pitch. Collette moved to second on the wild pitch and senior Paige Ahlholm (North Andover, Mass.) singled her in to put the Bobcats up 5-0. Ahlholm also advanced to second on a wild pitch. Then Pelletier helped her own cause with an RBI single, making the score 6-0 in favor of Bates.

Neither team scored for the remainder of the contest.

Pelletier struck out two more in a perfect second inning. She walked the first batter she faced in the third but bounced back to strike out back-to-back hitters before walking a second Ram to put runners at first and second with two down. She got the next batter to line out to center, ending the frame.

Including the final out of the third, Pelletier retired the final 13 batters she faced. She struck out the side in the fifth and struck out two more in the sixth. Pelletier then got a fly out, a ground out and a foul out to end the game.

The Bobcats tallied seven hits on the afternoon, with Bass going 2-2 with a run scored, a walk and a stolen base in her collegiate debut. Fellow rookie Collette went 2-3 at the plate. 

Ali Cornelius (0-2) gave up six runs (four earned) in three innings pitched, taking the loss in the circle for the Rams.

Dominican University 7, Bates 2

Panepinto and junior Andrea Russo each recorded a pair of hits and a run batted in but Dominican University scored twice in the first, twice in the third and three times in the fifth to defeat the Bobcats 7-2 Tuesday night.

The Stars (5-1) grabbed the lead in the first and never trailed. Julia Orozco doubled to start the frame and Marissa Burns bunted her to third. Orozco scored on a wild pitch and Gabi Alfaro followed with a single. Back-to-back Bates errors allowed Alfaro to score before Buxton (0-1) struck out back-to-back hitters to end the inning.

Bates got a run back in the top of the third. Bass singled with one away and promptly stole second base. Panepinto singled her home to cut the deficit to 2-1.

But the Stars got a pair of key insurance runs in the bottom half of the inning. Jacadi Rivera singled with one away and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Sydney Kuderna doubled Rivera home to extend the lead to 3-1. Then Kuderna advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on a Katie Fredrick sacrifice fly. 

Down 4-1, the Bobcats went down in order in the fourth and fifth innings respectively.

In the bottom of the fifth, Ali Woitovich homered to start the inning for the Stars. Then the Stars put runners at first and second with two away and Cecilia Winters McCarthy doubled in two to make the score 7-1.

The Bobcats scored a run in the top of the seventh but could not get any closer. With one out, first-year Erin Murphy (North Andover, Mass.) reached on an error and with two away Russo (Cheshire, Conn.) tripled her home. But she got left stranded when Bass lined out for the final out of the game.

Kuderna (2-0) scattered six hits over six innings while allowing only one run in the circle to pick up the win for the Rams. Buxton went the distance and did not walk anyone but took the loss for Bates. Two of the seven runs she surrendered were unearned. Buxton struck out three in her collegiate debut in the circle for Bates.

The Bobcats continue their opening week in Florida with games against Penn State Brandywine at 9:00 a.m. and Mitchell at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday.