MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The Wesleyan University softball team came through in the clutch on Saturday, as the Cardinals posted a pair of one-run victories during a sweep of Bates at the Wesleyan Softball Field in Middletown, Conn.
During a 1-0 victory in Game 1, senior captain Julie McDonald earned the complete-game win on the mound for the Cardinals (10-12), as she struck out nine batters, and the Commack, N.Y. native also posted the game-winning run in the fourth.
Wesleyan showed a great deal of resiliency in the second game, as they rallied back from a 2-1 hole with a two-run effort in the sixth to claim a 3-2 win. Freshman starting pitcher Danielle Rinaldi earned her fourth win of the year, going the distance, while striking out six batters, walking two, and allowing a pair of runs. The Ewing, N.J. native also went 2-for-3 at the dish with an RBI and a run.
GAME 1 HIGHLIGHTS (Wesleyan 1, Bates 0):
- McDonald, who ranks in the top-eight within the NESCAC in strikeouts (57) and ERA (2.01) continued her phenomenal senior campaign, retiring five consecutive batters to start the game, with three occurring on strikeouts. She also recorded 1-2-3 innings in the first, fourth and sixth.
- In the bottom of the fourth, McDonald led off with a walk, and then Rinaldi tallied an infield single to shortstop. With senior captain Rielly Wieners at the plate, McDonald stole third, and then crossed home with the game-winning run on a throwing error by the catcher.
- In the top of the seventh, the Bobcats (11-10) tried to make one last push, as senior Tori Fitzgerald tallied a leadoff single up the middle, but then McDonald struck out Bates sophomore starting pitcher Kirsten Pelletier looking, and then freshman Maddie Ikeda turned a double play on an ground ball to clinch the game.
- Pelletier was great on the mound for the visitors, giving up only one run on five hits in six innings of work. Freshman Marina Williams went 2-for-3 for Wesleyan with a pair of singles, as each team finished with five hits. Wesleyan did not make any mistakes in the field, and Bates was charged with one error, as both teams stranded six runners on the base path.
GAME 2 HIGHLIGHTS (Wesleyan 3, Bates 2):
- The Cardinals entered the bottom of the sixth, facing a 2-1 deficit, but the squad went to work at the plate. McDonald drove a single to right in a leadoff role, Rinaldi beat out a bunt for a base hit, and then Wieners tallied a single to shortstop, as the bases were juiced with no outs. Williams then reached first on an error by the second baseman, as the ball found its way into the outfield, allowing McDonald to score the game-tying run and Rinaldi to tally the go-ahead mark during a 3-2 triumph.
- Bates opened the scoring in the top of the first on a one-out RBI single down the right-field line by sophomore Julia Panepinto (2-for-4, RBI), allowing freshman Caroline Bass (2-for-4, run) to cross home. Rinaldi evened the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the inning for the hosts on a bunt single, which plated junior Olivia Gorman, who led off the inning with a single down the left-field line.
- Pelletier came up with a clutch two-out RBI single up the middle for the Bobcats in the fifth, as junior Andrea Russo (2-for-3, run) stepped on home with the visitors' second run of the game.
- Pelletier was tagged with the loss for Bobcats on the hill, as she pitched in the sixth, and gave up two runs on three hits. Freshman Payton Buxton pitched well in a starting role for Bates, giving up no earned runs on four hits and no walks in five innings, while striking out a pair.
- Each team recorded seven hits, while the Bobcats made three errors, and the Cardinals were guilty of one. Bates left eight runners on base, and Wesleyan stranded six.
- The Cardinals will host a doubleheader against Trinity on Tuesday, starting at 3 p.m. from the Wesleyan Softball Field.