NORTHFIELD — The Norwich University softball team made its 2019 home debut in impressive fashion Wednesday, pounding out 28 hits and 34 runs en route to a doubleheader sweep of Northern Vermont Universit-Johnson.
Norwich earned an 8-1 victory in the opener before winning the nightcap, 26-4. Sophomore Brittany Vandergroef had a strong day at the plate and in the circle for the 6-6 Cadets, who stretched their winning streak to four games. Vandergroef went 3-for-7 with four RBIs and four runs scored as well as firing a complete-game, two-hitter to pick up the Game 1 victory.
Vandergroef overpowered NVU-Johnson (1-11), registering 10 strikeouts. She struck out the side in the top of the fifth inning to cruise to her first collegiate pitching victory. Seven players recorded at least one hit in Game 1, led by junior Katie Reid’s 2-for-3 effort with two RBIs. Seniors Emily Oliver and Madison Miller recorded RBI hits.
Norwich sprinted out to a 3-0 lead after the first inning and tacked on a run in the second and two more in the third to pull away early. Emily Marshall had a one-run double to lead the Badgers’ offense. She also took the loss in the circle.
During Game 2, Norwich scored eight runs in the bottom of the first inning and added 11 more in the second inning. The Cadets capped their offensive explosion with seven runs in the third inning.
Senior Naomi Rinaldo went 2-for-4 with four RBIs, including a three-run homer in the third inning for the sixth of her career. Oliver also reached the 100-hit milestone with a single down the left field line during her first at-bat of Game 2. Rinaldo now has 79 RBIs in her career to rank eighth all-time in program history.
Reid went 3-for-5 in the second game with two RBIs and three runs scored, while freshman Dara Kelly continued her impressive rookie campaign with a 3-for-4 effort to go along with two RBIs and two runs scored.
Oliver and Vandergroef each scored four runs to lead the Cadets. Freshmen Lindsey Gordon and Maggie Rasmussen each tallied hits. Sophomore Elizabeth Niven had two hits in relief of Miller. Freshman Sydney Parkhurst had a hit and two runs scored, while junior Kaylee Blanchard had a single and three RBIs.
Oliver picked up her fifth win of the season on the mound, going three innings without allowing a hit. Freshman Adele Cousland pitched the final two innings, giving up one earned run on two hits. The second game was sloppy from both teams with 10 total errors and 24 unearned runs.
Norwich will attempt to carry the offensive momentum into its first two league doubleheaders of the season. The Cadets will travel to play Anna Maria on Saturday at noon before returning home to host St. Joseph’s (Maine) on Sunday at 1 p.m.