Softball's winning streak at four games after wins over Bridgewater State and New England College

Junior Andrea Russo went 3-6 at the plate with two runs scored and a run batted in over the course of two games on Thursday, March 8, 2018 to help the Bobcats win both contests. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

CLERMONT, Fla. -- The Bates College softball team is off to its best start since 1995 after victories over Bridgewater State and New England College Thursday morning. 

Bates (5-1) defeated the Bears 3-1 and rallied to win 5-4 over the Pilgrims. The Bobcats' four-game winning streak is their longest since they won the final four games of the season in 2015. 

Bates 3, Bridgewater State 1

Sophomore Kirsten Pelletier tossed a complete game three-hitter and the Bates softball team defeated Bridgewater State 3-1 Thursday morning.

Pelletier (Sidney, Maine) struck out seven along the way to earn her third victory of the season in the circle for Bates. She surrendered a leadoff home run to Samantha Mulcahy but did not allow a run after that. Pelletier (3-0) has pitched 21 innings this year and given up just one run on five hits while tallying 26 strikeouts. 

Trailing 1-0, Bates answered right away against Bridgewater State starter Mackenzie Holt (0-3) in the bottom of the first. Junior Andrea Russo (Cheshire, Conn.) singled to start the frame. First-year Caroline Bass (Newton, Mass.) bunted her way aboard but got thrown out trying to take second base. Russo advanced to third on the play. With two away, first-year Payton Buxton (Middlebury, Vt.) tripled down the right field line to drive in Russo, tying the game at one.

Pelletier worked a 1-2-3 second inning and worked around a one-out single in the third thanks to first-year catcher Mary Collette (Watertown, Conn.) throwing out the Bears' Kacie Carvalho trying to steal. 

Russo drew a walk to begin the bottom of the third. Bass reached on an error and two outs later senior captain Tori Fitzgerald (Holliston, Mass.) singled home Russo, putting Bates up 2-1.

Pelletier tossed a 1-2-3 fourth inning and shut down the Bears in the fifth despite a Bates error. 

The Bears (3-6) threatened in the sixth. With one out, Mulcahy drew a walk. Then a Bobcat error put runners at first and second. But Pelletier struck out Alexandra Ruprecht and got Shannon Grindle to ground out to second, ending the inning.

Bates added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth. Junior Mimi Crowley (Barnstable, Mass.) singled to start the frame and two outs later back-to-back Bear errors led to Crowley scoring the Bobcats' third run of the contest.

In the top of the seventh, Pelletier retired the first two batters before Meghan Navarro singled. Then Pelletier hit the next batter, bringing the winning run to the plate. But Pelletier struck out Carvalho looking to secure the victory.

Crowley and Buxton both tallied two hits in the win. Buxton allow tallied a triple and a run batted in. Russo went 1-3 with two runs scored and a walk. 

Bates 5, New England College 4

The Bates softball team rallied from four runs down to defeat the New England College Pilgrims 5-4 Thursday morning.

The Bobcats pushed across the eventual game-winning run in the top of the seventh. Russo led off with a single and first-year Caroline Bass (Newton, Mass.) followed with a single of her own. Russo got thrown out at third on the play but Bass advanced to second. Sophomore Julia Panepinto (Buffalo, N.Y.) singled Bass to third and Buxton drew a walk to load the bases. Fitzgerald delivered an RBI groundout to plate Bass, giving Bates a 5-4 lead.   

Buxton hit her first career home run in the victory and first-year Jevan Sandhu (Plymouth, N.H.) earned the victory out of the bullpen in her first career appearance in the circle for the Bobcats.

With Bates down 4-0 in the top of the fourth, Buxton smacked a home run to right field to cut the deficit to 4-1. Then Bates tied things up against Pilgrim starter Gabriella Marcheschi in the fifth. With one away, first-year Erin Murphy (North Andover, Mass.) singled. Russo followed with a double and Bass singled in Murphy, moving Russo to third. Bass stole second and Panepinto drew a walk to load the bases. 

Buxton came up big again, this time with an infield single, driving in Russo and trimming the Pilgrim lead to 4-3. After Fitzgerald reached on a fielder's choice, Collette drove in Panepinto with a single, tying the game at four.

Buxton got the start in the circle Bates, shutting down the Pilgrims through the first two innings before giving up four runs in the third, in part due to three Bates errors in the inning.

Sandhu entered the game with the score tied at four in the fifth and worked around a walk and an error to keep the game knotted at four.

Bates went down in order in the sixth and Sandhu pitched around a two-out walk in the bottom half of the frame.

Sandhu (1-0) earned the win with three innings of no-hit ball out of the bullpen. Marcheschi (1-5) pitched a complete game but took the loss, giving up five runs on 12 hits.

Bass went 3-4 with a run scored and a run batted in for Bates. Russo went 2-4 with a run scored and Buxton went 2-3 with a home run, two runs batted in and a walk. Destiny Helmedach went 2-3 with a home run and a walk for the Pilgrims. 

The Bobcats take on Northwestern (Minn.) and Wheelock on Friday with the Northwestern game getting underway at 9:00 a.m.