Gators Sweep Norwich, Await Playoff Fate

Box Scores: Game 1 | Game 2

Chestnut Hill, MA – Pine Manor College swept a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) doubleheader from visiting Norwich University on Monday afternoon at a soggy Pine Manor Field in Chestnut Hill, MA. The Gators used a four-run third inning to help guide them to a win in game one before winning game two in dramatic fashion in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Pine Manor did its part in trying to clinch one of the final spots in the GNAC tournament, pulling into the eighth and final playoff spot for the time being. The Gators now need help to get in the tournament as four teams, including Pine Manor and Norwich, are still battling for one of the final three spots.

In game one, Norwich drove home the first run of the game when senior Marley Balasco (Barrington, RI/LaSalle Academy) singled to right field to drive home lead-off hitter Abby Belcher (Winthrop, MA/Winthrop). For Balasco, the RBI was the first of two in the game and three on the day.

The Cadets held Pine Manor scoreless in the first two innings before the Gators were able to break through in the third inning. Pine Manor pushed across four runs on three hits and two Norwich errors, beginning the rally when PMC starting pitcher Tara Doehler (Lakeville, MA/Apponequet) reached base thanks to an error to lead-off the inning. Following a walk to senior Jess Kennedy (Lakeville, MA/Apponequet) and another error, PMC found itself with the bases loaded.

Junior Kayla Nielsen (Saco, ME/Thornton Academy) then delivered with a 2 RBI single to centerfield. Following an RBI single by freshman Ashley Carusone (Nashua, NH/Nashua North) and an RBI double from sophomore Kaylyn Delgado (Worcester, MA/Bartlett), the Gators had a 4-1 lead.

Pine Manor would tack on another run in the fourth when senior Michelle Campbell (Baltimore, MD/Seton Keough) drove in a run with an RBI single. Norwich would then score two runs in the fifth and one run in the sixth to cut the deficit to 5-4.

However, in the home half of the sixth inning, Kennedy would drive home a run with an RBI double to give the Gators insurance. Doehler would then score on a passed ball to make the score 7-4. Doehler would then get out of a bases loaded situation in the top of the seventh to hold on to the 7-4 win. Doehler went the distance in both games, improving her record to 10-16.

In game two, Pine Manor jumped out to a five nothing lead, looking determined to complete the sweep. However, Norwich staged a furious rally scoring two runs in the fourth and the fifth innings to cut the score to 5-4 before tying the game in the top of the seventh.

A two-RBI single by Carusone got the scoring started for the Gators in the first inning. Then in the second the Gators manufactured a pair of runs as Doehler scored on a wild pitch while Campbell singled to drive home Kennedy. In the third, Pine Manor took the 5-0 advantage thanks to an RBI single from freshman Christine Lowe (Elmhurst, NY/Health Professions & Human Services).

Norwich then staged a furious rally, scoring two runs in the top of the fourth and two in the fifth, as sophomore Erin Vien (Plymoth, NH/Plymouth Regional) pulled the Cadets to within one with an RBI single in the fifth.

The teams played a scoreless sixth as the Gators went into the final inning clinging to a one-run lead. Balasco would then step into the box for the Cadets and take that lead away, completing the Norwich rally with a towering solo home run to right field.

The Gators were unable to answer in the bottom half of the inning, leaving the bases loaded and the door open for Norwich as the teams played into extras. However, Doehler sat the Cadets down in order, striking out the final batter of the inning and once again giving Pine Manor a chance to win in the home half of the inning.

With sophomore Cheska Mendes pitch running and placed on second by-rule, the Gators started the home half of the eighth inning. A sacrifice bunt from junior Jennifer Gross (Coral Springs, FL/Coral Glades) moved Mendes to third. Doehler then stepped into the box and ripped a ball into leftfield. Mendes left the bag as the ball landed just out of reach of the left fielder but was forced to retreat to third after slipping along the third base line. However, the speedy pinch runner would then score on the next play, beating the throw home after a groundball by Kennedy.

Pine Manor will now wait to see how the GNAC standings stand after tomorrow‘s conference action. Please check for the latest schedule updates.

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