Pelletier throws third career no-hitter in softball's 4-0 win over Alverno

Kirsten Pelletier threw a no-hitter and the Bates softball team defeated Alverno 4-0 Thursday morning at the Osceola Softball Complex. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Bates 4, Averno 0

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Junior Kirsten Pelletier threw the third no-hitter of her collegiate career Thursday morning, striking out eight batters in the Bates softball team's 4-0 win over Alverno.

Pelletier (Sidney, Maine) went toe-to-toe with Alverno starter Natalie Akin (1-1) for the first four innings, with neither team scoring a run. While the Bobcats threatened to score every inning, Pelletier (2-2) shut down the Alverno hitters.

She struck out two batters in the first inning, retiring the side in order. Alverno (5-2) got a two-out baserunner in the second thanks to a Bates error but Pelletier got the next batter to ground out. She struck out another hitter to conclude a 1-2-3 third inning. Pelletier issued the first of her two walks in the fourth and the runner advanced to second on a ground out. Then Pelletier struck out Sara Redlin swinging to end the inning. 

After stranding seven runners through the first four innings, Bates broke through in the fifth. With one out, first-year Janell Sato (Honolulu, Hawaii) and junior Julia Panepinto (Buffalo, N.Y.) reached on back-to-back infield singles. Senior Andrea Russo (Cheshire, Conn.) bunted the runners over and sophomore Mary Collette (Watertown, Conn.) singled in Sato and Panepinto to give the Bobcats a 2-0 lead.

Pelletier worked around a two-out walk in the bottom of the fifth and Bates went back to work on offense in the sixth. With one away, sophomore Caroline Bass (Newton, Mass.) legged out an infield single and stole second base. First-year Kennedy Ishii (Honolulu, Hawaii) singled her home to extend the lead to 3-0. With two away, Panepinto doubled in Ishii for another insurance run.

Pelletier took care of the rest. She retired the final seven batters she faced, striking out back-to-back hitters in the seventh to end the game. Pelletier threw 88 pitches, 61 of them for strikes. This marks Pelletier's first no-hitter of the 2019 season and the third of her career. She no-hit North Central University of Minnesota last season in Florida and she also no-hit Colby College in five innings last year to clinch a NESCAC playoff spot for Bates.

Bridgewater 6, Bates 4 (8 innings)

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The Bobcats (2-6) dropped an extra-inning contest to Bridgewater (Va.) by a score of 6-4 later in the day on Thursday. 

With the score tied at four in the top of the eighth, the Eagles scored a pair of unearned runs to take the lead for good. Per "international rules" the eighth inning began with a runner on second base. Mikalia Guard singled to start the frame and one out later Katie Merhout singled in a run. Guard got thrown out on the play but Merhout advanced to second. Then Emily Clifford reached on an error, allowing an insurance run to score.

Bates jumped out to a 4-0 lead by scoring two runs in the first and two in the second. 

Bass got the offense going with a double to start the first inning. Ishii reached on an error and Bass advanced to third. Ishii stole second base and one out later Panepinto squeezed in Bass and an error on the play allowed Ishii to score as well, putting Bates up 2-0.

In the second inning, Bass jump started the offense again, this time with two outs. She singled to center and promptly stole second base. Ishii drew a walk and Sato doubled in both runners. 

Sophomore Payton Buxton (Middlebury, Vt.) shut down Bridgewater through the first two innings but the Eagles (8-1) answered with four runs in the third. 

With one out, Avery Pinder drew a walk and stole second base. Kaitlyn Tirona singled her home and with two away Sarah Wimer singled Tirona to third. Guard singled in a run of her own and Carlita Tibbs tripled in a pair of runs, tying the game at four.

Pelletier took over in the circle for Buxton after 3.2 innings, getting the final out in the fourth. She blanked the Eagles for the next three innings until Bridgewater got two runs in the top of the eighth.

The Bobcats went down in order in the bottom of the eighth to end the game. Pelletier (2-3) took the hard-luck loss while Clifford (2-0) went the distance in the circle for the Eagles. She gave up four runs (three earned) on only four hits, walking five and striking out eight.