On Friday, April 11, the softball team traveled to Vermont to take on Middlebury in a three-game weekend series. The Cardinals pushed the Panthers into extra innings twice, but were not quite able to earn any victories up north.

Su Pardo ’16, coming off a strong series against Hamilton, took to the hill to start the first game of the set on Friday. Pardo was effective through the first two innings, blanking the Middlebury offense through those two frames. The Cardinal offense, however, also failed to score, and Pardo began to give ground in the third.

After earning two strikeouts, offering two walks, and giving up a single, Pardo found herself pitching with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the third. At that point, she let up a bases-clearing double, putting the Cardinals in a 3-0 hole. Though Middlebury would score again later in the game, this was all the production the Panthers would need to down the Cardinals.

Abigail Rutt ’17 smacked an RBI triple and was stranded at third, and Jill Gately ’15 crushed a solo home run on an otherwise quiet day for the Cardinal offense. The two runs were all Wesleyan would muster over the course of the contest.

Captain Laura Getchell ’14 was moved to the mound to start the bottom of the fourth, and was effective in relief. She allowed just one earned run over the course of a well-pitched 1.1 innings, but two more unearned runs were surrendered during her time on the mound due to errors in the field. The score was set from the end of the fifth inning on: Middlebury took the game 6-2.

The teams met again for games two and three of the series in a doubleheader on Saturday, April 12. Pardo took the mound once again, and had a much better outing, keeping the Panther offense at bay through the game.

Scoring opened in the top of the first: Jamie Hom ’17 and Mollie Grunat ’16 each contributed RBI singles to put the Cardinals up 2-0 early. That score held steady until the bottom of the fifth inning.

With two outs in the fifth, Pardo walked the third batter of the inning and then surrendered an RBI double to the fourth batter. However, she worked herself out of the jam, striking out the next batter she faced to preserve a 2-1 lead.

The Cardinals carried this lead into the bottom of the seventh, with Pardo still on the mound, looking to finish the game herself. However, after a quick strikeout, Pardo walked a batter and then allowed two singles, the second of which drove in the game-tying run. Pardo survived the rest of the inning, but Middlebury had tied the score at two, and the game was going to extra innings.

Both teams held each other until the 10th, when Angelina Massoia ’17 drove in Pardo on a soft infield single. Wesleyan carried a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the 10th, and Pardo again took to the mound to try and close out the game.

NESCAC rules state that if a game progresses through the 10th inning or further, each team will automatically start with a runner on second base. As such, Middlebury came up to bat in the bottom of the tenth with a runner already on. All it took for the team to get that runner in was an errant throw.

Pardo induced a groundball to third, but Gately erred on her throw, allowing the runner from second to score and tie the game. A few batters later, a sacrifice fly notched a walk-off win for the Panthers. Both runs scored by Middlebury in the 10th were unearned.

Several Wesleyan players had big performances: Massoia went 2-for-4, Hom was 3-4, and Captain Amy Lindland ’14 was 2-for-5 with a run scored. Pardo had 10 strikeouts and just two earned runs over the course of 9.2 innings. However, these efforts were not enough to get the win.

The action picked right back up again as the teams started their third game, this time with Getchell taking the mound to start. Getchell, coming off a rough stretch of recent outings, was very effective: she held the Panthers to three runs over seven innings, picking up five strikeouts along the way. However, the Wesleyan offense was unable to provide much in the way of run support.

At the end of seven, the score was 3-3, and the two teams were headed to extra innings for the second time that day.

The Cardinals threatened in the top of the eighth, putting runners on the corners with one out after Rutt doubled and Grunat reached on an error. However, the Cardinals were unable to capitalize, as the next two batters were retired without incident.

Getchell returned to the mound in the bottom of the eighth, where she fell victim to a costly error in left field that allowed the Panthers to score the game-winning run, unearned. Again, Middlebury walked off with a win on the heels of a Wesleyan error.

The series sweep all but dashed Wesleyan’s playoff hopes. To have any shot, the team will likely have to sweep its upcoming three-game set against Williams, which boasts a 5-1 conference record. That series starts on Friday, April 18.

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