The softball team (19-11, 4-5 NESCAC West) exits their week with a huge NESCAC West series win over Middlebury (13-8, 1-4 NESCAC West). The Cardinals took two of the three road games, winning the first 2-1, and the rubber game 6-3. The Panthers earned their first conference win with a 6-0 victory in the middle contest.

Susan Pardo ’16 dueled it out with Neve Stearns in game one, and the Wesleyan ace was dominant on her way to picking up win number nine of the season. Pardo threw all seven innings, allowing just one run on five hits and striking out five. Her lone blemish was a solo home run off the bat of third baseman Erin Giles in the bottom of the fourth inning.

The bats took a while to come alive for the Redbirds, only amassing three hits through the first six innings. The fat lady didn’t sing after the sixth inning, and in the final frame, the Cards put two on the scoreboard to take a 2-1 lead.

Angelina Massoia ’16 singled to center field, bringing home captain Amanda Roosa ’16 on the play. Pardo then helped her own cause, giving the Red and Black the lead for good on an RBI double that plated Massoia.

Pardo had no trouble getting the final three outs. The first came on a foul out to second base and the last two Panther batters were set down looking. The senior threw 84 pitches, 58 of them strikes, and had two hits including the game-winning double.

The Cardinals had issues generating offense in the middle game of the series. Scoreless heading into the bottom of the fourth, Middlebury exploded for four runs off of starting pitcher Julie McDonald ’18. Back-to-back RBI doubles from Giles and Siobhan O’Sullivan gave the Panthers a 2-0 edge, and two RBI groundouts from Taylor Gardner and Hye-Jin Kim left Wesleyan trailing by four with nine outs remaining.

McDonald pitched a scoreless fifth but once again entered troubled waters in the sixth. Carlyn Vachow doubled home a run to left field and a throwing error from Rachel Kantor at third base put the Middlebury advantage at six.

McDonald dropped to a still impressive 7-3 record on the 2016 season, while Allison Quigley is now 5-1 after throwing a four-hit gem for the Panthers. Massoia’s two hits, plus one from Kantor and another from Rielly Wieners ’18, were all the offense the team could produce on this early afternoon.

Later in the day, the Cards rebounded to take the series victory over their NESCAC West partners. Wes got on the board early with a Kantor RBI single that drove home Izzy Linzer ’17 in the top of the first.

The fourth was a great inning for the side in red as four crossed the plate. Jamie Hom ’17 singled home Roosa and Wieners to start the action. Both of these runs were unearned as Wieners reached base off an error from the Middlebury shortstop. Two batters later, Olivia Gorman ’19 provided a single of her own to score another run, and she would cross home later in the inning off of a wild pitch, another unearned run for the Redbirds.

The Panthers gave Pardo a bit of a scare, cutting the deficit to 5-3 after a three-run fourth inning. An error by Pardo brought home the first run, an RBI single from Sarah Freyre would tack on one more, and the final run came off of a sacrifice fly from Gardner. In the next half inning, Massoia would give the Cardinals an unneeded insurance run with an RBI single that drove home McDonald.

The Wesleyan ace picked up her tenth win of the season and only allowed two hits through seven innings of softball. Pardo beat Stearns for the second time during the weekend, but out of the five runs Wesleyan scored in the final game, only one was an earned run charged to the Middlebury pitcher. The Cardinals were able to take full advantage of the many Panther errors.

The Birds picked up twelve hits in the rubber game, with multi-hit efforts coming from Kantor, Roosa, Pardo, and Hom.

Stepping back out of conference for a day, the team faced off against Western New England University in a double header this past Tuesday. The Cards dropped the first game, 2-0, but battled back to win the next contest, 7-6.

Pardo suffered her third loss after allowing one run in the top of the first and a second run in the top of the third. After McKenzie Pezze hit a ball toward Roosa, an error from the Wesleyan at second base allowed leadoff hitter Gabby Lavinio to cross the plate. Lavinio would also score the other run for the Golden Bears when her teammate and cleanup hitter, Heather Fecteau, singled to left field.

Pitching for the away team, Heidi Grieger (12-5), allowed a stingy seven hits in the complete game outing and was able to keep the Redbirds off of the scoreboard. Pardo only allowed four hits and struck out five, but the dominant performance from the other side of the bench prevented her from picking up win number 11.

Game two put McDonald on the hill for the Cardinals. The sophomore threw seven innings, allowing six runs on eight hits and striking out five.

The Golden Bears went up three after a two-run homer in the top of the third from Fecteau and a solo dinger from Alexis Bukowski in the fourth. This lead was short-lived, as the Cardinals tacked on three in the bottom of the fourth. McDonald aided her own cause with an RBI single, plating Pardo. Two batters later, captain Mollie Grunat singled home Roosa and McDonald.

One inning later, in the bottom of the fifth frame, Roosa singled home Hom and McDonald singled in Roosa to give the home team a 5-3 edge.

Western New England dealt a tough blow to the Cardinals when Pezze blasted a three-run home run to take a 6-5 lead into the bottom of the seventh.

With their backs to the wall, the Cardinals did what needed to be done to win in the final frame. Kantor commenced the inning with a single to right, and Roosa followed with a single to center. A wild pitch would advance the runners to second and third base with no outs on the board. Wieners then walked to load the bases, causing Grieger to come out of the bullpen for the Golden Bears in order to try and preserve the victory with a save.

The ace couldn’t stop the Cardinals from completing the comeback, as McDonald earned herself win number eight on the season with a two RBI double to left field, scoring Kantor and Roosa.

The team had its penultimate non-conference tilt cancelled yesterday against the University of St. Joseph (CT). Next Tuesday will mark the final out of conference matchup against Eastern Connecticut State University, before the Cardinals make a last-ditch effort to qualify for the postseason with a three-game matchup against NESCAC West second place holder Amherst (18-6, 4-1 NESCAC West).

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