Pelletier dominant in circle, softball sweeps doubleheader with University of Southern Maine

Junior Kirsten Pelletier struck out a career-high 14 batters in game one and the Bates softball team swept a doubleheader against the University of Southern Maine on Wednesday, April 17, 2019. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

GORHAM, Maine -- Junior Kirsten Pelletier struck out a career-high 14 batters in game one and first-year Danielle Polirer earned her first collegiate win in game two as the Bates softball team swept a Wednesday doubleheader with the University of Southern Maine. The Bobcats won game one 6-0 and took game two 6-3. 

It's the second straight season Bates (10-15) has swept USM (14-15) in a doubleheader.

Bates is back in action Thursday when the Bobcats host the University of Maine-Farmington at 5pm. 

Game One: Bates 6, USM 0

The Bobcats scored three runs in the first inning and never looked back, defeating the Huskies 6-0 in game one of Wednesday's doubleheader.

Pelletier (Sidney, Maine) tossed a complete game three-hit shutout, her fifth shutout of the season. Pelletier's 14 strikeouts on Wednesday are three shy of the Bates record for strikeouts in one game of 17, set in 2014 by Kelsey Freedman '15. 

Ashley Alward (4-5) tossed a complete game for the Huskies, allowing six runs (two earned) on seven hits. She walked three and struck out five. The Huskies committed four errors in the contest while the Bobcats played errorless defense. 

Sophomore Caroline Bass (Newton, Mass.) reached on an error to start the game in the top of the first. She stole second base and one out later she advanced to third on a wild pitch. Sophomore Mary Collette (Watertown, Conn.) drew a walk and first-year Janell Sato (Honolulu, Hawaii) got hit by a pitch to load the bases. Junior Julia Panepinto (Buffalo, N.Y.) ripped a single into left field, driving in Bass for the first run of the game. Senior Andrea Russo (Cheshire, Conn.) reached on a throwing error and two runs scored, extending the Bobcat lead to 3-0.

Pelletier (8-8) worked around a pair of walks in the bottom of the first, striking out the side to maintain the 3-0 advantage. The first seven outs recorded by Pelletier on Wednesday came via the strikeout. She struck out the side in the first, second and fourth innings. 

With the score still 3-0, Russo walked to start the top of the sixth. Sophomore Dulce Alcantara (Far Rockaway, N.Y.) reached on a bunt single and first-year Emily Samar (New York, N.Y.) bunted the runners over, reaching on an error in the process to load the bases.

A passed ball allowed Russo to score and first-year Kennedy Ishii (Honolulu, Hawaii) singled to load the bases again. One out later, first-year Aleah Pagan (Orinda, Calif.) singled home a run. With two away, Sato got hit by a pitch to force in the sixth run of the contest for the Bobcats.

The Huskies recorded singles to lead off the sixth and seventh innings, but Pelletier was up to the task, shutting them down both innings. 

Russo paced the Bates offense in game one, going 2-3 with a run scored, a double, an RBI and a walk. Alcantara went 2-4 at the plate. Kayleigh Bohan went 1-1 with two walks for the Huskies and Kaitlyn Nelson finished 1-3 with a walk. 

Game Two: Bates 6, USM 3

The Bobcats scored four runs in the top of the third inning to take control of game two, winning 6-3 to sweep the doubleheader. 

Polirer (Bellmore, N.Y.) allowed just one run, which was unearned, in three innings out of the bullpen, picking up the first win of her collegiate career. Sophomore Jevan Sandhu (Plymouth, N.H.) earned her first collegiate save with a scoreless seventh inning.

Down 1-0, the Bobcats got to USM starter Madison Greene (4-3) in the top of the third. Pagan singled through the left side to start the frame and Collette singled her to second. One out later, Russo walked to load the bases. Panepinto singled in Pagan to tie the game at one. 

The Huskies brought in Alexis Brown to pitch and sophomore Erin Murphy (North Andover, Mass.) greeted her with a bases-clearing double, making the score 4-1 in favor of the Bobcats.

Sophomore Payton Buxton (Middlebury, Vt.) got the start in the circle for Bates and tossed three innings, allowing two runs on six hits, walking three and striking out three. The Huskies cut the Bates lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the third on Brown RBI single.

Polirer (1-0) entered the game in the bottom of the fourth and struck out the first batter she faced. With two outs, the Huskies got a walk and a single but Polirer got the next batter to ground out, ending the frame.

Bates added to its lead in the top of the fifth. Russo reached second base on an error to start the frame. She advanced to third on a wild pitch and Panepinto drew a walk to put runners at the corners. Panepinto stole second and Murphy drove in her fourth run of the game, smacking a sacrifice fly to center. Then with two aay, Ishii singled in Panepinto to put the Bobcats up 6-2. 

A passed ball allowed an unearned run to score for the Huskies in the bottom of the fifth, but Polirer and Sandhu shut them down after that. Polirer got a key double play and a strikeout to end the sixth and Sandhu retired the side in order in the seventh.

The Huskies tallied 10 hits in game two to the Bobcats' nine. Collette went 2-4 with a run scored to pace the offense. Panepinto and Russo both went 1-3 at the plate with two runs scored and a walk. Panepinto added her team-leading 17th RBI of the season. Murphy doubled and drove in four runs. Kayleigh Bohan went 3-4 at the plate for the Huskies and Brooke Cross finished 2-2 with a run scored and two walks. Each team committed one error in game two. 

Bobcat pitching struck out six batters in game two, giving the pitching staff 20 K's on the day.