NORTHFIELD — Saint Joseph’s snapped the Norwich softball team’s six-game winning streak with a doubleheader sweep in Great Northeast Athletic Conference action on Sabine Field.
Norwich (8-8, 2-2 GNAC North) went back and forth in an offensive battle during Game 1. The Cadets suffered a 9-8 loss before dropping Game 2, 9-1. The Monks (6-11, 4-0 GNAC North) kept their perfect league record intact.
The Cadets led 1-0 early and trailed 3-1 in the opener before rallying to take a 4-3 after three innings. A costly four-run top of the fourth inning, including a throwing error that led to a run, proved to be the difference in the game to deal the Cadets their first home loss of 2019.
The heart of the Norwich lineup was solid, with batters in the No. 2-5 positions going a combined 9-for-15. Two hits and three RBIs from cleanup hitter Naomi Rinaldo gave the Cadets a big boost. Freshman Dara Kelly went 3-for-4 at the plate with a team-leading three runs scored. She belted a one-run triple in the bottom of the fourth inning that cut the Saint Joseph’s lead to 7-6.
Katie Reid, Emily Oliver and Brittany Vandergroef all tallied one RBI in Game 1. Vandergroef suffered her first collegiate loss on the mound after going all seven innings. She gave up seven earned runs on nine hits and four walks.
Melodie Bailey led the Saint Joseph’s offense in Game 1. She went 3-for-4 with four RBIs, including a two-run single to center field in the top of the fourth inning that broke a 4-4 tie. Junior second baseman Libby Pomerleau went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and one RBI from the leadoff spot. Starting pitcher Kate Whitney earned the victory in Game 1, improving to 3-5 on the year. She gave up six earned runs on 10 hits and four walks.
Game 2 was all Saint Joseph’s from the opening pitch. Pomerleau once again kick-started the Monks’ offense with a single to center field to open the game. Her SJC squad never looked back, plating four runs in the first inning.
The Cadets committed one error to hurt their cause. Meghan Elliott, Bailey and Megan Eagleston all had RBIs for the Monks to help build the early lead.
Norwich scored in the bottom of the second inning, with Makenna Wade’s sacrifice fly to center field driving in Rinaldo.
That was close as Norwich would get, as the Monks added two more runs in the fourth, one in the sixth and two more in the seventh.
Pomerleau went 3-for-4 in Game 2 with one RBI. Elliott added three hits, while Grace Chadbourne had a two-run double in the top of the seventh for the Monks.
Pitcher Cailtlyn King kept Norwich’s batters off balance all game, scattering four hits in the complete-game effort. She improves to 3-5 on the season.
Oliver took the loss, falling to 6-4 on the year after giving up 14 hits and six earned runs while striking out five.
Norwich will travel to play Suffolk for a doubleheader Saturday before returning to Northfield to host Emmanuel at 1 p.m. Sunday.