Panepinto homers twice in softball's doubleheader split with UNE

Junior Julia Panepinto hit a grand slam in game one and a solo home run in game two of the Bates softball team's doubleheader at the University of New England on Thursday, March 28, 2019. (Theophil Syslo/Bates College)

BIDDEFORD, Maine -- Junior Julia Panepinto smacked a pair of home runs, including a grand slam, and the Bates softball team split a doubleheader with the University of New England Thursday afternoon, taking game one 4-3 before falling 3-2 in game two. 

Bates (4-10) opens NESCAC play Friday at Tufts. First pitch is set for 4pm. 

Game One: Bates 4, UNE 3

After falling behind 3-0, the Bobcats rallied to defeat the Nor'easters 4-3 thanks to Panepinto's grand slam home run in the sixth inning. 

Junior Kirsten Pelletier (Sidney, Maine) struck out seven batters in a complete game to earn the win for Bates in the circle. She allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits while walking just one batter.

With Bates trailing 3-0, sophomore Caroline Bass (Newton, Mass.) reached on an error to start the top of the sixth. She stole second base and advanced to third when first-year Kennedy Ishii (Honolulu, Hawaii) singled to left. Ishii stole second base and first-year Janell Sato (Honolulu, Hawaii) drew a walk to load the bases.

Panepinto (Buffalo, N.Y.) stepped to the plate and crushed a grand slam to left field, putting the Bobcats up 4-3. 

Pelletier (4-5) took care of the rest. She retired the side in order in the bottom of the sixth and seventh innings to secure the victory. 

Sydnee Bessler (3-3) threw a complete game for the Nor'easters in the loss. She allowed four runs on six hits, walking three and striking out seven.

Taylor Depot drove in all three runs for UNE, singling in Avery Alberghini in the first inning and hitting a two-run home run in the fifth inning.

Six different Bobcats tallied one hit apiece while UNE finished with five hits. Both teams committed one error.

Sato finished 1-3 with a run scored and a walk. Meanwhile, sophomore Mary Collette (Watertown, Conn.) drew a pair of walks for Bates.

Game Two: UNE 3, Bates 2

For the second straight game, the Nor'easters jumped out to a 3-0 lead and this time they held on to defeat the Bobcats 3-2.

Panepinto's home run in the fourth inning of game two was a solo shot, her second long ball of the day and the fourth of her career. She is slugging .457 through 14 games, tops on the team.

Sophomore Payton Buxton (Middlebury, Vt.) pitched well for Bates in the circle, scattering six hits, allowing three runs (two earned) while walking two and striking out one.

Meanwhile the Nor'easters (6-7) used a pair of pitchers, with Melissa Sprague allowing two runs in four innings and Jordan Strum pitching three shutout innings out of the bullpen.

Sarah Lachapelle and Melissa Jakubowski delivered back-to-back RBI singles in the bottom of the first to put UNE up 2-0. 

After the Nor'easters tallied an unearned run in the second, Bates got on the board in the third. With two outs, Bass got hit by a pitch and stole second. Ishii reached base as well and stole second to put runners on second and third with two away. Sato singled Bass home but Ishii got thrown out at the plate to end the inning.

After Panepinto's homer in the fourth cut the deficit to 3-2, the Bobcats had a number of chances down the stretch to tie the game. But UNE wiggled out of trouble each time. Both teams left seven runners on base in game two. UNE tallied six hits to the Bobcats' five. The Bobcats and the Nor'easters both committed two errors in the field.

Senior Andrea Russo (Cheshire, Conn.) went 1-2 with a walk and two stolen bases in game two. Bass finished 1-3 with a run scored and a stolen base.