Softball Gets NESCAC West Action off to Great Start with Three-Game Sweep of Hamilton - Win Streak at Record-Tying 12

Wesleyan swept its NESCAC West double-header vs. Hamilton Fri., March 29 with 7-2 and 7-3 triumphs to extend its winning streak to 11 games, just one shy of the school record set in 2007.  The Cardinals had a chance to reach that milestone Sat., March 30 as Wesleyan and Hamilton completed their three-game conference series in Middletown.  All the games were originally slated to be played at Hamilton put poor field conditions forced the games to be moved to Wesleyan.  The Cardinals got it done Saturday with a 3-2 decision for a series sweep.

The first game of the double-header was a pitcher's duel for six innings after each team struck for two runs in the 1st inning.  Wesleyan took advantage of an error on the opening play and added an RBI triple by Jill Gately '15 (#17, main photo) and an RBI single from Alex Sarkowsky '14.  Hamilton got its first five batters on base with a walk, two infield singles, a walk to force in a run and a hit batter to force in the second run.  Laura Getchell '14 faced the first four batters for Wesleyan but was lifted in favor of Su Pardo '16 (#6, photo insert upper right).  Though she hit her first batter, she then struck out the side to end the scoring threat. She then held the Continentals to four hits over the last six innings with no runs and 13 strikeouts. 

Wesleyan took the lead in the 6th when Gigi Olson '15 lashed a double to left, plating Amy Lindland '14, who singled.  While it was the only run the Cardinals needed, they tacked on four runs in the 7th as Ashley McLaren '13 got things going with an RBI single, Gately added two more RBI with a single, giving her three in the game, and Matti Peters '13 capped the rally with an RBI single.

Wesleyan got off to a fast start in game two, scoring four runs before the game was two innings old.  Gately, who ended the game with four RBI, giving her seven on the day, drove in the first run in the 1st inning while Lexi Parr '15 and McLaren keyed a three-run 2nd inning with RBI.  Hamilton narrowed the margin to 4-3 by the bottom of the 6th with two runs in the 3rd and a run in the 6th.  But Getchell, who went the distance in the circle for the Cardinals, got the final out in the 6th with a strikeout.  Wesleyan had another big 7th inning with three runs as Gately smashed a three-run homer to center field.  Pardo then came in for Getchell, who had yielded eight hits and three runs over six innings, and got two strikeouts and a pop up to end the game.  Allee Beatty '13 joined Gately with two hits as Beatty extended her hitting streak to all 16 games Wesleyan has played this year.

Wesleyan got two-out RBI in the top of the 7th inning from Peters and Beatty, breaking a 1-1 tie and propelling the Cardinals to a 3-1 lead heading into the bottom of the 7th vs. Hamilton in the last game of the series Saturday.  Hamilton got back-to-back doubles to center field to lead off the 7th, but Pardo got the next three Continentals out on a grounder and a pair of strikeouts, bringing her game total to nine, to preserve the one-run win.

The Saturday battle was a repeat of Friday's opener as Pardo and Hamilton ace Kelly Leonard went into the latter stages of the game deadlocked and in control.  This time it was 1-1 after six inning. Pardo had allowed just one hit through six innings, that a solo home run in the 2nd.  Wesleyan got its initial run in the 3rd inning when Parr led off with a double to center field, moved to third base on a groundout and scored on McLaren's hard ground single through the left side.

Wesleyan began the 7th with a single by Tori Redding '13.  She moved to second on a groundout and scored with two outs on Peters' single up the middle.  Parr kept the inning going with a single as pinch runner Mollie Grunat '16 moved to second.  Beatty then extended her hitting streak this year to 17 games by lashing a double to center to drive in Grunat with what proved to be the winning run.

Wesleyan improved to 29-7 all-time vs. Hamilton while equaling the school record with 12 wins in a row.  The Cardinals will have the chance to break the record Wed., April 3 when Wesleyan hosts Coast Guard.