BRUNSWICK, Maine -- The Bates softball team scored six times in the fifth inning and held on from there to top NESCAC East rival Bowdoin by a score of 6-4 Friday afternoon.
The Bobcats (16-10, 2-5 NESCAC East) beat the Polar Bears (22-8, 7-3 NESCAC East) despite surrendering a season-high 15 hits. Bates tallied six hits on the day, five of them coming in the fifth inning.
Sophomore Kirsten Pelletier (Sidney, Maine) turned in her guttiest performance of the year, going the distance in the circle for Bates to earn the win. She struck out five and walked one, allowing just four runs on the aforementioned 15 hits.
Trailing 3-0, Bates got to work against Bowdoin starter Kate Hoadley (6-4) in the top of the fifth. First-year Payton Buxton (Middlebury, Vt.) drew a walk to start the frame. With one away, Bates bunted Buxton to second and she moved to third on a passed ball, putting a runner 60 feet away from scoring but with two outs in the inning.
That's when the Bobcats made their move.
First-year Caroline Bass (Newton, Mass.) drew a walk and junior Andrea Russo (Cheshire, Conn.) singled in Buxton to cut the deficit to 3-1. Pelletier followed with a single of her own and a Bowdoin error on the play allowed Bass to score and Pelletier to advance to second while Russo landed at third. Sophomore Julia Panepinto (Buffalo, N.Y.) tied the game at three with an RBI double, putting runners at second and third.
Senior Paige Ahlholm (North Andover, Mass.) continued her outstanding season with a two-RBI single, driving in Pelletier and Panepinto. Ahlholm is hitting a career-best .274 with a career-high .348 on-base percentage so far this year.
Ahlholm's big hit chased Hoadley from the game. First-year Mary Collette (Watertown, Conn.) greeted new pitcher Ruby Siltanen with an RBI double, driving in Ahlholm and putting Bates up 6-3.
The Polar Bears got one back against Pelletier (9-7) in the bottom of the sixth. Maddie Rouhana singled to start the frame and Samantha Valdivia tripled her home. However, Valdivia got thrown out at home trying for the inside-the-park home run.
A double, a single and a walk loaded the bases for Bowdoin with two outs. But Pelletier got cleanup hitter Allison Rutz to fly out to end the inning.
Bowdoin tried to rally again in the seventh. The Polar Bears tallied back-to-back singles to start the frame. Once again, Pelletier was up to the task. She struck out back-to-back hitters before getting a game-ending fielder's choice to secure the victory.
Bowdoin left 11 on base in the contest. Ahlholm paced Bates at the plate, going 2-3 with a run scored and two runs batted in. Panepinto and Collette added a double and a run batted in each.
The win is Bates' first over the Polar Bears in softball since 2012. The two teams square off again Saturday when the Bobcats host the Polar Bears for a doubleheader starting at noon at Lafayette Street Field.