KEENE, N.H. – The Castleton University softball team dropped a pair of conference decisions at Keene State on Thursday. The Spartans couldn't hold two late leads in a 5-4 eight-inning thriller before losing in five innings, 11-3.
Cassie Woods hit the walk-off single in the opener and finished the afternoon 5-for-7 with three doubles, three RBIs, and two runs scored. Olivia McGrath ended 4-for-5 with a walk and two runs scored as well as a win in the circle in relief in game two for Keene State (8-12, 3-1 LEC).
For Castleton (7-14, 1-6 LEC), Kate LaPan was 4-for-6 on the day and reached base a team-high five times out of the leadoff spot. Miranda Fish had two doubles and crossed the plate twice in the effort.
The Spartans are scheduled to return to action on Saturday with a conference doubleheader with Eastern Connecticut State set for a 1 p.m. start.
Keene State 4, Castleton 3 (8 innings)
Keene State battled back from two late deficits and Woods hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth for the dramatic victory. Woods was 3-for-4 out of the nine-spot for the Owls and scored the tying run in the seventh inning after leading off with a double.
Castleton, trailing 1-0 since the second inning, took a one-run lead in the top of the sixth when Devin Millerick hit a two-out, two-run double. The big hit came after LaPan and Calli Van Gorden led off the inning with singles and Fish moved them up with a sacrifice bunt.
Keene State knotted it at two in the bottom of the frame. Woods doubled to left and moved to third on a swinging bunt by Julie Elwell. With the infield in, Owl pitcher Molly St. Germain hit an RBI groundout to second to send the game to extras.
Fish smoked a single past the second baseman to start the eighth. After Tori Swaine walked, Millerick advanced both runners with a successful sacrifice bunt. Then, Jamie Boyle hit a sacrifice fly to score Fish from third. Swaine moved to third on the play, but Keene State's St. Germain induced a groundout to limit the damage.
Courtney Votto flopped a single to right to get the home half of the eighth started. Keene State tied the score at three when Lauren Rousseau walked and McGrath singled through the middle to plate Votto from second. Woods' game-winner two batters later was a single to left over the drawn-in infield on a full-count pitch.
Keene State 11, Castleton 3 (5 innings)
Jumping on Castleton starter Emily Harvey early, the Owls held a 3-0 lead after the opening inning of play and sent eight batters to the plate in the opening inning.
The Spartans responded in the third inning with a three-spot of their own to level the score. LaPan smacked a single down the right-field line and Van Gorden walked before Fish roped a two-run double in the gap in right-center. She scored three batters later on an infield single from Boyle.
McGrath yielded two hits and no runs the rest of the way to earn the decision. She pitched 2.1 innings in total, allowing four hits and no runs with one walk and one strikeout.
The Owls used four consecutive one-out singles in the bottom of the third followed by a bases-clearing double from Kat Iozzo and another double from Woods one batter later to quickly generate an 8-3 cushion. They tacked on three in the fourth with RBI singles by Meghan Moran and Woods to eclipse the eight-run margin and complete the scoring.