Softball loses pair of heartbreakers at Trinity

Andrea Russo went 3-4 with two runs scored in game two of the Bobcats' doubleheader with Trinity on Saturday, March 31, 2018. (File photo by Zachary Roy/UMass.-Dartmouth)

Hartford, Conn. – Trinity's Rachael Smith won both games in the circle, striking out nine batters over 10.2 innings, to lead the Trinity College Bantams to a doubleheader sweep against the visiting Bates College Bobcats in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) East Division softball action Saturday afternoon. Trinity won game one 6-5 and took game two 4-3. 

The Bantams improve to 11-5 overall and 3-0 in the NESCAC East. The Bobcats fall to 9-6 overall and 0-3 in the division.

Trinity came from behind in the late innings in both wins. The Bantams tied the first game, 5-5, in the bottom of the seventh on a solo homer by Jenna Thomas and won it in the eighth inning on an RBI single by Meaghan Race. In the second game, Trinity scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, highlighted by a two-out, two-run single by Michelle Treglia to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead, and Smith ended it with a scoreless top of seventh. 

Game one: Trinity 6, Bates 5 (8 innings)

Bates took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a two-run single with two outs by first-year Mary Collette (Watertown, Conn.). Trinity got one run back on an RBI single by Katie Haghdan in the bottom of the first and tied it in the third on a Haghdan squeeze bunt. The Bantams went ahead, 4-2, thanks to run-scoring singles by Treglia and Courtney Erickson in the bottom of the fourth frame, but the Bobcats rallied with a three-run seventh inning to take a 5-4 lead. Sophomore Julia Panepinto (Buffalo, N.Y.) smacked a double to the gap with bases loaded and two outs to score all three runners.  

With one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, Thomas blasted her first career bomb over the wall in left-center field to tie the score. Trinity's Nicole Towner followed with a single, but Bates first-year hurler Payton Buxton (Middlebury, Vt.) retired the next two Bantams. Smith pitched a perfect top of the eighth, and Erica Merullo led off the bottom of the inning with a hit. She made it to third on a sacrifice by Treglia and an Erickson walk, before Race punched the game-winning hit over the third baseman's head.

Game two: Trinity 4, Bates 3

Bates led the nightcap, 3-0, after three innings, scoring an unearned run in the first and twice more in the third on a two-out, two-run double by Collette. Race singled and scored an unearned run in the fourth inning, and Smith pitched out of a jam in relief of starter Lindsay Pressman in the top of the fifth. Trinity's Gillian Burk had an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth, before Treglia gave Trinity its first lead of the game with her second and third RBI of the afternoon. Bobcat senior Paige Ahlholm (North Andover, Mass.) singled with two outs in the top of the seventh, but Smith got the final out on a ground ball.

Erickson, Merullo, and Race each had three hits for Trinity, while Bates first-year Caroline Bass (Newton, Mass.) was 5-for-7 with three runs scored and two steals, and both Panepinto and junior Andrea Russo (Cheshire, Conn.) had three hits in the twinbill. Smith scattered eight hits in eight innings with eight strikeouts and just one free pass in the opener, and added 2.2 innings of scoreless relief in the second game to improve to 7-3. Trinity had 12 hits and Bates committed four errors in the first game, but the home team left 13 runners on base in the opener. Buxton fell to 2-3, pitching all 7.1 innings and allowing five earned runs with eight K's and two walks in game one. Bobcat sophomore Kirsten Pelletier (Sidney, Maine) tossed a six-hitter with two strikeouts and no earned runs allowed in a hard-luck loss to fall to 5-3 in game two.