Spartans shut down Beavers in NAC softball

Spartans shut down Beavers in NAC softball

CASTLETON, Vt. - Castleton State College allowed just five total hits in 14  innings and taking down the University of Maine at Farmington 8-1 and 6-0 in North Atlantic Conference softball action this afternoon at Spartan Field.

The Beavers (10-12 overall, 6-6 NAC) are slated to host Bowdoin College Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. for a non-conference doubleheader. The Spartans upped their record to 15-14 on the season and 10-1 in NAC play.

Castleton starters Emily Sweeney (Weare, N.H.) and Taylor Lively (Greenfield, Mass.) were dominant once again in leading the team to its fifth and sixth straight victories.

Tori Fearon (Colchester, Conn.) went 1-for-3 in the opener with two runs scored and finished 3-for-4 with four RBI in the second game to lead the offense. Kristy Pinkham (Brandon, Vt.) also added three hits on the afternoon.

The Spartans wasted little time in getting on base, as Pinkham reached on a dropped third strike. Caylee Fleury (Barre, Vt.), Fearon and Shannon Jipner (Bristol, Vt.) followed with walks for the 1-0 lead. After a strikeout, Margy Kerschner (Vergennes, Vt.) singled to left, scoring Fleury. Stephanie Sylvester (Swanton, Vt.) followed with a two-RBI single to left for the 4-0 advantage. After a hit batsman and a strikeout, Pinkham drove in two more runs with a single just past the glove of the second baseman to give Castleton a 6-0 lead after one inning.

UMF responded in the top of the second, as Kaitlyn Bartlett (Chesterville, Maine) and Lily Barry (Hermon, Maine) drove back-to-back doubles to left field to get back one run. Sweeney (Weare, N.H.) was able to induce a flyout and after a walk, Mercedes Maltbie (Warrensburg, N.Y.) made a pair of good fielding plays on a grounder and a flyout to end the threat.

Castleton got a run in the bottom of the second as Jipner reached on a throwing error and came around to score on a groundout by Kerschner for the 7-1 advantage.

The Spartans pushed their lead to 8-1 in the bottom of the fourth. Fearon reached on a dropped third strike and she advanced to third on a single and a fielder's choice. The sophomore was then able to score on a fielding error by the second baseman.

Castleton threatened in the bottom of the sixth, with two runners on and just one out, but a pair of ground outs ended the inning. Sweeney made sure there was no comeback in the final frame, sending down the Beavers in order for her seventh win of the season.

The junior allowed just three hits over 7.0 innings, giving up a single earned run while walking four and striking out five.

The Spartans jumped on UMF again in the second game, as Pinkham let off the bottom of the first with a single and then advanced all the way to third on a throwing error by the third baseman. Fleury followed with a walk and then stole second to put runners in scoring position for Fearon. She flipped a single up the middle to score a pair for the 2-0 lead.

The Beavers threatened in the top of the third as Lively allowed a walk and a single to Amy Jones (Augusta, Maine) put two runners on base. They advanced to second and third on a wild pitch, however, she induced a flyout to the mound for the final out of the inning.

With one down in the bottom of the frame, Jipner blasted a ball to right that hit the base of the wall for a stand-up double. Maltbie followed with a single to left-center, scoring Jipner from second, and advancing all the way to third on the throw to home. Kerschner kept the hits going with a single just past the second baseman, scoring Maltbie for the 4-0 advantage.

An inning later, Chelsea Crehan (Essex, Conn.) rapped a lead-off single to center. She advanced to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on a one-out single by Fleury. Fearon followed with a double to right field, scoring both runners. Consecutive flyouts ended the frame with the Spartans leading 6-0.

Lively allowed just one single over the final two innings and sent down the Beavers on six pitches in the seventh inning to earn her eighth win of the season.

Bartlett took the loss in the second game for UMF, going six innings and allowing six earned runs while striking out seven.

 Lily Barry  Kaitlyn Bartlett  Amy Jones  Emma Vaillancourt
 Michelle Cote