Russo tallies five hits in softball's split with Gordon and UMass.-Dartmouth

Junior Andrea Russo went 5-7 at the plate with three runs scored, two doubles and a run batted in on Saturday, March 10, 2018. (Zachary Roy/UMass-Dartmouth)

CLERMONT, Fla. -- Junior Andrea Russo went 5-7 at the plate over the course of two games and the Bates College softball team defeated Gordon 15-5 before falling 2-0 to UMass.-Dartmouth Saturday morning.

Russo (Cheshire, Conn.) is hitting a team-best .472 (17-36) on the season. The Bobcats (8-2) are off to their best start since 1999 and wrap up their Florida trip Sunday with games against Ripon and Minn.-Morris. 

Bates 15, Gordon 5 (6 innings)

The Bobcats scored three runs in the first and eight runs in the second to take command in a 15-5 win over Gordon Saturday morning for Bates' seventh consecutive victory.

First-year Payton Buxton (Middlebury, Vt.) got the start in the circle and tossed four shutout innings for the victory, her second of the year. She recorded five strikeouts and only allowed one hit. Buxton threw two scoreless innings to start the game and two more scoreless innings to end the game. 

Bates tallied 15 hits in the win. Russo got things started in the top of the first with an an infield single. One out later sophomore Julia Panepinto (Buffalo, N.Y.) reached second base on a Gordon error and Russo advanced to third on the play. Then Buxton helped her cause with an RBI single, driving in Russo and moving Panepinto to third. Buxton stole second base and senior captain Tori Fitzgerald (Holliston, Mass.) got hit by a pitch to load the bases. First-year Mary Collette (Watertown, Conn.) hit a grounder to short and the Fighting Scots (0-2) threw Buxton out at third but Panepinto scored on the play to put the Bobcats up 2-0. First-year Dulce Alcantara (Far Rockaway, N.Y.) drew a walk to reload the bases and senior Paige Ahlholm (North Andover, Mass.) singled in Fitzgerald to extend the lead to 3-0.

Russo got the offense going again in the second. She got hit by a pitch and stole second base. First-year Caroline Bass (Newton, Mass.) bunted her way aboard and advanced to second to on the play when Russo took third. One out later Buxton reached on a fielder's choice when the Fighting Scots were unable to get Russo at the plate. Fitzgerald singled in Bass and Collette walked to load the bases.

That was hit for Gordon starter Caitlin Catalanotto (0-1) as the Fighting Scots brought in Kristen Brown. Alcantara greeted her with an RBI single, driving in Buxton. Ahlholm drew a walk to drive in Fitzgerald and first-year Abra Kaplan (Oak Park, Ill.) singled in Collette and Alcantara. 

Russo plated Ahlholm with an RBI grounder and after Bass reached on an error Panepinto singled home Kaplan to put the Bobcats up 11-0.

Collette doubled with one out in the third and moved up 60 feet on a wild pitch. Alcantara drove her in with a sacrifice fly to make the score 12-0.

The Fighting Scots score the next five runs in the contest to cut the Bates lead to 12-5. But the Bobcats responded with three in the sixth to secure the mercy rule victory. Ahlholm singled to start the frame. One out later Russo doubled and Bass followed with a two-RBI double to put Bates up nine. A Gordon error on a Panepinto grounder scored Bass to put the Bobcats up 15-5.

Every Bates hitter tallied at least one hit in the contest. Russo and Bass combined to go 5-9 at the plate at the top of the order with five runs scored and three runs batted in. 

UMass.-Dartmouth 2, Bates 0

Kylie Fletcher's controversial two-run home run in the top of the sixth propelled UMass.-Dartmouth to a 2-0 win over the Bates softball team Saturday morning.

Hannah Smith (1-0) shined in the circle for the Corsairs (2-0) against the Bobcats, holding Bates to four hits in a complete game shutout, striking out three along the way. Sophomore Kirsten Pelletier (Sidney, Maine) tossed a complete game for Bates, scattering eight hits and striking out four. 

Emily Colton singled for the Corsairs to start the top of the sixth. Then Fletcher hit a ball down the line that appeared to be foul but was ruled a home run to put UMass.-Dartmouth up 2-0. 

Russo singled for Bates to begin the bottom of the sixth. But Bass hit into a fielder's choice and got caught stealing second base for the second out of the inning. Panepinto grounded out to end the inning. In the seventh, Buxton drew a walk to start the inning. But two fielder's choices and a pop up ended the game. 

The Bobcats and Corsairs were scoreless through the first five innings, with Pelletier retiring the first six batters she faced. Meanwhile Russo singled to begin the bottom of the first but was left stranded at second base. Fitzgerald singled to begin the second but did not advance past first base.

Bates went down in order in the third and the fourth and UMass.-Dartmouth loaded the bases with two away in the fifth. Pelletier got Cierra Sheerin to ground out to escape the jam.

Russo went 2-3 against the Corsairs to finish off her great day at the plate. Pelletier (4-1) took the loss but still sports a 1.00 ERA on the season in 35 innings pitched.