CASTLETON, Vt. –The Castleton University softball team earned a conference split with Eastern Connecticut State University in its home opener at Spartan Field on Saturday. Castleton claimed game one, 3-2, before dropping game two, 3-1.
Kylie Wright pitched a complete game in game one and tossed nine innings in total yielding three runs on nine hits. She walked two and struck out five on the afternoon. She wiggled out of multiple jams in limiting the potent Warrior attack including stranding runners in scoring position in each of the final three innings of the opener. She started the first game and earned her fifth victory of the campaign before pitching two innings of one-run relief in the nightcap.
Warrior ace Morgan Bolduk got five outs in the opener in relief with three strikeouts before picking up a six-out save in game two. She did not allow a baserunner on the day and struck out the side in the seventh to seal the victory for Eastern Connecticut (19-7, 8-4 LEC).
Castleton (8-15, 2-8 LEC) will return to action on Tuesday for a non-conference doubleheader at Bay Path, rescheduled from Mar. 23. The Spartans return home on April 17 with a pair against Southern Vermont as they will host their annual Pink Games to benefit the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center and the American Cancer Society.
Castleton 3, Eastern Connecticut 2
The Spartans scored all of their runs in the first inning. Calli Van Gorden singled with one out before Miranda Fish served one through the right side for a single. Two batters later, Devin Millerick scored one with a double to left-center. Then, Jamie Boyle singled to center to bring around both runners and give Castleton an early 3-0 edge.
The Warriors got one back right away when Julia SanGiovanni launched a solo home run to lead off the second. In the third, Eastern cut the deficit to one with two outs when Brooke Matyasovsky hit an infield single. Wright got out of trouble aided by a sliding catch by Olivia Bowen in left in foul territory.
Jayna Ryan slapped a single over third to begin the bottom of the fifth before Kate LaPan reached on a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt. Van Gorden dropped down a sacrifice to move the runners up, but Bolduk closed the door with a strikeout and ground out.
SanGiovanni singled and pinch runner Calli Duthrie stole second with one out in the sixth, but Wright got a fly out and grounder to third to alleviate the threat. Laura Zenk represented the tying run at first in the seventh after the worked a two-out walk but a soft-liner to shortstop ended the contest and gave Castleton its first LEC win on home soil.
Eastern Connecticut 3, Castleton 1
Warrior catcher Megan Hodgdon snapped a 1-1 tie in the fifth inning with a long lead-off home run that eventually served as the game winner and Bolduk tossed two perfect innings to close out the contest.
For the second straight game, the Spartans took an early lead. Three consecutive singles by Van Gorden, Fish, and Tori Swaine produced one run. Castleton was unable to add to the lead despite putting both runners in scoring position with two outs on a wild pitch.
The Warriors struck back again in the second for a run to tie the game. Sara Pisanelli walked to lead off the frame before moving to second on a Matyasovsky sacrifice bunt. Two batters later, Kamdynn Moroney singled to left to bring the run in.
Machaila Arjavich pitched the first two innings for Castleton. She allowed the run on two hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Emily Harvey pitched a pair of scoreless innings on two hits. She gave way to Bowen, who surrendered the homer in the fifth to take the loss.
Harvey earned her first-career base knock in the fourth inning but was the last Spartan to reach base as Eastern Connecticut pitchers combined to retire the final 11 hitters they faced.
Eastern Connecticut added insurance with a single run in the sixth on a Sabrina LeMere RBI single on a blooper beyond the second basemen. Haleigh Cardello earned the win in the circle. She allowed six hits over five innings of work without surrendering a walk. She struck out two and allowed just the single run in the first inning.