CASTLETON, Vt. – Calli Van Gorden's walk-off double in game two, combined with a seven-run first inning in game one led the Castleton University softball team to a doubleheader sweep – 11-2 and 4-3 – over North Atlantic Conference-leading Thomas on Saturday afternoon.
Castleton improves to 9-15 overall and 5-3 in the NAC with the two wins on Senior Day. Thomas drops out of the conference's first spot and is now 19-15 overall and 8-4 in league play.
Castleton 11, Thomas 2 (5 inn.)
Opening the game with a shaky first that saw Thomas string together three consecutive hits with one out and score a run, it was immediately forgotten as Castleton blew open the contest.
The first six Spartan batters reached in the bottom of the first. With help from a walk, hit-by-pitch, a couple of errors and three hits, Castleton plated seven. The big hit came off the bat of Devin Millerick as she roped a double down the right-field line with runners on second and third.
Up 7-1 in the last of the second, the Spartans were not done. Sara Baker led off with a double into the right-center-field gap. Two batters later with one out and runners on second and third, Briley Blackbird singled and moved to second to make it 8-1.
After trading runs in the third, the 11-2 score would hold throughout the rest of the game as the offenses quieted down.
Taylor Paquette earned her fifth win of the season after throwing all five innings. She allowed just two earned and struck out five.
Castleton 4, Thomas 3 (8 inn.)
With Bailey Cummings placed on second to start the inning for Castleton – which trailed 3-2 – Millerick immediately laid down a sacrifice bunt to move her to third. Timi Carone kept the line moving with an infield single to shortstop that scored Cummings.
As the speedy Carone led off first with the game tied at 3-3, Van Gorden ripped the offering inside the right-field line and that was more than enough as the former motored around diamond before the Terriers could get the ball in.
In the top half of the eighth, the Terriers were able to bring their runner home from second, but Paquette – in the game in relief – shut down the rest of the lineup. Following the score, she induced a weak pop fly, a groundout and a fly out to right.
Thomas began the scoring in the top of the third, driving in two on a two-out rally. A pair of singles followed a leadoff single to right.
Castleton battled back over the following couple of innings and finally struck gold in the sixth. With Millerick reaching on an inning-opening double, Van Gorden doubled and then scored on Baker's base hit.
Paquette (6-10) notched the win – her second of the day – in relief, tossing 4.2 innings and not allowing an earned run. McCormick started the game, going the first 3.1 frames, allowing two to score.
Due to unplayable field conditions in Lyndonville, Vt., Castleton will now host Lyndon State for a twin bill beginning at 11 a.m. on Sunday at Spartan Softball Field.
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