CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton softball team salvaged a doubleheader split against non-conference opponent Keene State College behind the power of the long ball on Monday evening at Spartan Field.
Castleton (10-6) blasted two home runs—a grand slam and a three-run shot—in the second game of the doubleheader to pick up a 10-5 win after dropping game one of the day, 3-0. Keene State (12-9) rode the long ball to victory itself in game one, as it registered a solo shot and a two-run home run.
Timi Carone's second career home run proved to be a decisive blow, as the junior's second-inning grand slam gave the Spartans a 5-1 lead they did not relinquish. Carone was 4-for-7 overall on the day, driving in the four runs and scoring twice. Sara Baker had a multi-hit afternoon, launching her third round tripper of the season—a three-run shot—to extend the Spartans' lead in the fourth inning. Sami Carlo also added a pair of hits, a pair of runs and a pair of RBIs out of the nine spot in the lineup for Castleton. Taylor Paquette picked up her seventh win of the season, tying her career high for wins in a single season. She struck out three batters while walking just one, and gave up five runs—two earned—on 11 hits.
The Owls' Jenny Galavotti had a stellar day, driving in three runs over the two games with a home run in game one. Aliza Guerrero had a home run and two doubles on the day, while Brooke Arruda had three hits and two RBIs.
Kayla Wood shouldered the loss in game one of the day, going the distance and striking out five batters while giving up three earned runs. Castleton had just five hits on offense from five different players.
Molly St. Germain tossed a complete-game shutout in the first game of the day for Keene St., striking out seven while scattering five hits with no walks. Galavotti and Guerrero each had two hits in the game and had a hand in each of the team's three runs.
Wood opened the game by striking out the side in the top of the first inning, but Castleton couldn't capitalize in its turn at bat, stranding a runner on first to end the inning. The Owls got on the board in the second, as Guerrero lofted a ball into the heavy breeze blowing out to left field, dropping the ball just over the fence for a solo home run to give her squad a 1-0 advantage.
The two pitchers then traded zeros until the fifth inning, when Galavotti crushed her sixth home run of the season, a two-run blast, to make it 3-0 in favor of the visitors. The Spartans got another hit in the bottom of the inning, but stranded a runner once more. Wood and St. Germain again went pitch-for-pitch, as each offense was shut down over the final two innings to end the game at 3-0.
Game two was a turnaround for the Castleton offense, as Carone was 3-for-4 with a grand slam, while Carlo added two hits, two runs and two RBIs. Baker had just one hit in the contest, but it was a big one as it went for a three-run home run.
Kristin Boduch, Guerrero and Arruda each had multi-hit games in the back end of the doubleheader for Keene St., with Arruda leading the way with two RBIs.
The Owls struck first once more in game two, as Brittany DaMota lofted a sacrifice fly to center field to score Guerrero in the second inning. The Spartans answered in a big way in the bottom of the inning, when Carlo notched a bases-loaded single to tie the game before Carone sent a ball over the fence in center field for a grand slam to make it 5-1 Spartans. The home run was just the second of Carone's career, and her first home run also came against the Owls in 2015.
Keene St. closed the gap in the third inning, notching a pair of unearned runs on fielder's choices to cut the lead to 5-3. After keeping Castleton off the board once more in the home half of the third inning, the Owls tacked on another run in the fourth to cut the deficit to just one run. After a leadoff singles, Kayla Votto laid down a bunt, but an errant throw sent the ball into right field allowing JoEllen Racicot to score. Votto was cut down trying to advance to second on the play for the second out of the inning, and Boduch struck out looking to end the inning.
Castleton then extended its lead again in the bottom of the inning, as the first six batters of the inning reached base safely. Brooke Naylor led off the inning with a walk, before three singles scored two runs to make it 7-3 in favor of Castleton. Baker then stepped to the plate with two runners on, launching a towering home run to left center field to give the Spartans a 10-4 edge.
Neither team could get a run in the fifth or the sixth inning, but Keene St. managed one more score in the top of the seventh. Guerrero knocked a one-out double off the fence, and came in to score on a base hit by Arruda to make it 10-5. Paquette stopped the bleeding, setting down the next two batters to end the game.
Castleton returns to the diamond on Wednesday, hosting Plymouth St. at 3:30 p.m.