HENNIKER, N.H. -- New England College softball beat the visiting University of Maine at Farmington Beavers twice Saturday afternoon, winning game one by a narrow 8-7 margin and taking game 2, 4-1, at Old Concord Road Field.
With the two wins the Pilgrims improve to 3-11 on the season and 3-1 in North Atlantic Conference (NAC) play. With the loss the Beavers are now 2-3 on the season and 0-2 in the NAC.
NEC would take the early lead in game one plating three runs in the home half of the first inning. Thanks to a leadoff walk and a pair of Beaver errors, the Pilgrims scored twice followed by a Jessica Kiehl single that plated Alyssa Krause.
UMaine-Farmington would battle back in the third inning as the Beavers would come up with four runs on four hits, highlighted by a two-run single off the bat of Kaitlyn Bartlett (Chesterville, Maine/Mt. Blue) and a one-run double by Lily Barry (Hermon, Maine/Hermon).
The Pilgrims regained the lead in the fourth inning on Taylor Belsito's two-run double, and Belsito eventually came around to score on a Rebecca Allen ground out to put NEC up 6-4.
The Beavers got a run back in the fifth when Bartlett doubled home Michelle Cote (Arundel, Maine/Thornton Academy), who reached on an error earlier in the inning. The Pilgrims plated two more runs in the home half of the fifth, building their lead back up to 8-6.
The Beavers made a final surge in the seventh, scoring one run when Amy Jones (Augusta, Maine/Cony) reached on an error, advanced to second on a Bartlett walk, and scored on Barry's sac fly to center field. That left pinch runner Dayle Jordan (Greene, Maine/St. Dominic) on second as the tying run, but the next two UMF batters popped up and flied out to center to end the game.
UMF starter Emma Vaillancourt (Saco, Maine/Thornton Academy) went the distance for the Beavers, fanning seven Pilgrim batters but allowing eight runs, five earned, on 11 hits and four walks in the loss. Olivia Stanley pitched the complete game victory, and allowed just one earned run on nine hits and one walk.
Bartlett led the Beavers at the plate with a 2-for-3 effort with three RBI, while Emily Soule (Chelsea, Maine/Cony), Meryl Bond (Jefferson, Maine/Erskine Academy), and Devin Fitzgerald (Casco, Maine/Lake Region) each had two hits.
In game two, Farmington opened the scoring in the top half of the second inning as Bartlett led the inning with a single and came around to score on a two-out single by Lauren Perkins (East Hanover, N.J./Whippany Park).
NEC responded with two runs in the home half of the frame on RBI singles by Brittany Distante and Maranda Johnson would each single in runs.
Neither team would muster a run over the next three innings, before the Pilgrims would give themselves some breathing room with two insurance runs in the sixth inning. That would be all NEC pitcher Elizabeth Harrigan would need, as she scattered five hits and struck out 11 Beavers en route to the complete game victory.
Farmington's Shelby Bryant (South Portland, Maine/Catherine McAuley) and Bryant each recorded two hits in game two. Soule got the start in the circle for the Beavers in game two, allowing just four hits and four runs, two earned, over six innings of work, while notching six strikeouts against just three walks.
UMaine-Farmington softball's MLB-esque schedule continues on Sunday, April 7, when the Beavers travel to Johnson State for an NAC doubleheader. UMF concludes the trip on Monday, April 8, with a make-up NAC doubleheader at Lyndon State College. The Beavers are scheduled to play a doubleheader on all but three days between now and the end of the regular season on Saturday, April 20.