Blue Softball Downs Middlebury and Union To Sweep Day Four in Clermont

Junior Sydney Hopper pitched 2.2 innings of scoreless relief to earn the win against Middlebury (Steve Pisac).
Junior Sydney Hopper pitched 2.2 innings of scoreless relief to earn the win against Middlebury (Steve Pisac).

CLERMONT, Fla. – Wellesley College softball rallied for a 5-4 walk-off victory over Middlebury College before running away with a 10-1 win in six innings versus Union College on Tuesday morning at the PFX Athletics Spring Games. Wellesley, now winners of three of their last four games, improves to 3-5 overall with the victories.

Wellesley 5, Middlebury 4 

First year Amanda Kim (Neshanic Station, N.J.) scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift Wellesley to a 5-4 victory over Middlebury.

The Blue struck first in the contest when an error allowed first year Gen Brittingham (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) to score in the bottom of the second inning. Middlebury got the run back on an Olivia Bravo (Falls Church, Va.) RBI double in the top of the third, but Wellesley would rally for a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning to take a 3-1 advantage. Senior Amanda Manning (Chico, Calif.) doubled to drive home classmate Julia Warner (Kenmore, Wash.) before scoring when the next batter, first year Alyssa Hana (La Mirada, Calif.), reached base on an error.

The Blue held on to the lead until the top of the fifth. Middlebury got one run back on a throwing error in the fourth before coming all the way back to take the lead when sophomore Melanie Mandell (Harrison, N.Y.) hit a two-run blast over the left centerfield wall to put the Panthers ahead 4-3.

Wellesley starter Madeline Bianchi (Lakeville, Minn.) faced one more batter before leaving the contest after allowing seven hits and four runs (three earned) over 4.1 innings. Junior Sydney Hopper (Newcastle, Wash.) came on to pitch the remaining 2.2 innings, allowing no runs and three hits while striking out one. 

Sophomore Kendall Smith (Turlock, Calif.) opened the fifth inning with a double before moving to third when first year Julianne Griffin (Blue Bell, Pa.) singled to left. Sophomore Jessica Budz (Traverse City, Mich.) then dropped down an RBI single, scoring Smith to tie the game, before the Panthers escaped the inning when Mandell cut down pinch runner Zein Aburish (Alexandria, Va.) at third and the Panthers caught Budz trying to sneak into second. 

Hopper worked around a leadoff single in the seventh, benefiting from a double play to end the inning, to set the stage for the Blue. Kim replaced sophomore Autumn Brown (Marshfield, Mass.) on the base paths after Brown singled to open the inning. A sacrifice moved her to second before an error that allowed Warner to reach base put Kim on third. She then scored to end the game when Middlebury starter Emily Morris (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) let a pitch get away. Morris pitched 6.1 innings, surrendering five runs (three earned) and striking out five in the loss.

Wellesley 10, Union 1 (6 innings)

Hana finished the game 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored as the Blue scored in every inning but the third while downing Union, 10-1, in six innings. 

Brittingham, Kim, and Smith all had two-hit games and Manning hit her first triple of the season to help Warner earn her second win of the year (2-2) in the day's second game. Warner helped her own cause as well, going 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI while pitching 6.0 innings and striking out eight.

Wellesley smashed out 15 hits and took advantage of five Union errors to cruise to the win. The Blue scored on errors in both the first and second inning to jump to a 3-0 lead. Union got one back in the third when senior Courtney Casey (Somerville, Mass.) brought first year Stuart Buxton (Melbourne, Wash.) around with an RBI single, but the Blue continued to add on in the late innings to end the game early.

Manning scored on an error and Brittingham singled to drive home Smith in the fourth before the Blue added two more on a miscue at the plate in the top of the fifth. Hana then drove in a pair with an RBI single to right before Wellesley added the tenth run to jump to a 10-1 lead on an RBI groundout from Aburish.

Warner walked the first batter to open the sixth before getting the first out on a fielders choice. The game would then end quickly as Union senior Nikki Ditizio (Oceanside, NY) lined into a double play. 

Wellesley will conclude their trip to Clermont, Fla. tomorrow, March 28 with a 9:00 AM contest versus Wis. – Stevens Point.