NORTHFIELD, Vt. - The University of Saint Joseph softball team picked up a split of a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) doubleheader on the road with the Norwich University Cadets Saturday afternoon at the NU Softball Field. The Blue Jays (14-8, 7-3 GNAC) took game one with a 7-0 victory and then Norwich (5-13, 5-5 GNAC) rallied to take game two by a score of 9-2.
GAME 1 - USJ 7, Norwich 0
USJ took full control of game one in the top of first inning with four runs to set the pace for the game. The Blue Jays scored their first two runs with two players getting hit by pitches with the bases loaded to take a 2-0 lead and then freshman Megan Ricci (Center Moriches, N.Y.) and Brianna Barfield (North Attleboro, Mass.) had RBI hits to make it 4-0 before NU even got to the plate.
That was more than offense for USJ freshman starting pitcher Amaria Sharon (Tolland, Conn.), who tossed a complete-game three-hitter to pick up her 12th win of the season for the Blue Jays. She struck out a pair and didn't issue a walk in the victory.
Norwich mustered just three hits with Naomi Rinaldo (Middlefield, Conn.), Felicia Armell (North Ferrisburgh, Vt.) and Katie Reid (Gold Canyon, Ariz.) all notching hits in the opening game for the Cadets.
Ricci and Barfield each finished with multi-hit games for the Blue Jays who posted nine hits as a team. Sophomore Kara Klimaszewski (Naugatuck, Conn.) and freshmen McKenna Driscoll (Bristol, Conn.) and Bianca Pappacoda (East Haven, Conn.) and Sharon each drove in a RBI.
Rachel Johnson (Stockbridge, Vt.) took the loss for Norwich, lasting just two innings and giving up four earned runs on four hits, while striking out four and walking two.
GAME 2 - USJ 2, Norwich 9
The Norwich offense rebounded in a big way in game two however, pounding out 15 hits off Sharon, led by a 4-for-4 game from Emily Oliver (Sagamore Hills, Ohio). Oliver also notched two RBI as well for the Cadets.
After getting shutdown in the first inning, Norwich scored in five straight innings to take the 9-2 win and salvage the split. Sophomore Madison Miller (Long Lake, N.Y.) went 3-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored, while Reid, Rinaldo and Sarah Perry (New Bedford, Mass.) each had two hits as well. Reid also had three stolen bases in game two.
Perry opened the scoring in the bottom of the second by punching a two-out single through the right side of the infield to score Miller and Reid.
St. Joseph got one back in the top of the third inning with junior Sarch Ercoli (East Granby, Conn.) plating freshman Taylor Marino (Middlefield, Conn.) with a RBI single to cut the deficit to 2-1. Norwich responded with Oliver driving home Rinaldo to get the two-run lead back in the bottom half of the inning.
NU added two more in the bottom of the fourth inning with Miller tripling home Reid with a line drive shot over the centerfielder's head. Alex Jones (Topsfield, Mass.) scored Miller with a sacrifice fly line out to right field to make it 5-1.
Oliver, Rinaldo and Miller all added RBI hits over the next two innings as well for Norwich to cap the offense on the day.
Johnson came back strong in game two, going the distance, scattering five hits and giving up two earned runs on four strikeouts and three walks. She improved to 4-4 on the year. Sharon was struck with the loss and falls to 12-5.
USJ recorded just five hits in game two. Driscoll and Klimaszewski each finished with doubles and Klimaszewski added a RBI.
The USJ softball team will return to action next with a mid-week doubleheader on the road at Gordon College on Tuesday. First pitch of game one is slated for 3 p.m.