Cards Take All Three Games from Middlebury for 2nd Straight Year with Great Pitching, Team Effort
Behind the four-hit shutout pitching of Meaghan Dendy '10 (#7, photo by Ron Bernstein P'11) and a pair of solo home runs from Dendy and Molly O'Connell '09 in the first inning, Wesleyan captured a 4-0 decision in the first game of a NESCAC West double-header vs. Middlebury Sat., April 4. In the nightcap, Wesleyan rallied from a 3-0 deficit and eventually won the game, 4-3, on Taylor Zavadsky's '10 bloop single in the bottom of the 7th (#3, main photo). The teams completed their three-game series with a game in Middletown Sun., April 5 and Wesleyan closed out its second straight series sweep of the Panthers behind an 8-2 victory, led by the pitching and hitting of Anu Rimal '11 (#19, photo insert upper left).
Middlebury broke a scoreless tie in the 4th inning of game two Saturday by recording five of its six hits during the frame off pitcher Chelsea Swete '11. Wesleyan got a pair back in the bottom of the 4th when Zavadsky singled and moved to third on a double by Talia Bernstein 11, who went 3-for-4 over the two games with three runs scored. When the throw from the outfield went out of play, both runners advanced, giving Wesleyan a run. Anu Rimal '11 then brought in the second Cardinal run with a single.
In the 7th, Wesleyan got a one-out single from Chrissy Bello '12, who was sacrificed to second. Lily Thalheimer '11 pinch-ran for Bello with two outs and scored on a single by Dendy. That hit extended Dendy's hitting streak this season to all 18 games Wesleyan has played. Dendy moved to second when O'Connell walked and scored the winning run on a bloop single to left by Zavadsky.
Wesleyan began the afternoon Saturday with a three-run outburst in the bottom of the 1st inning of game one. Dendy led off with a home run to center field, her first of the year. O'Connell then did the same to spot the host a 2-0 edge. It was the eight home run of O'Connell's career, tying the Wesleyan record. After a walk and a single, Alexis Kral '12 came through with an RBI hit to cap the inning. She also had an RBI single in the 5th to bring in Wesleyan's final run. Dendy allowed four hits in the contest with six strikeouts.
With the two wins Saturday, Wesleyan gave eight-year head coach Jen Lane her 100th career victory at Wesleyan. Half of those triumphs have come over the last 2 1/2 seasons as Wesleyan stands 50-41 since the start of the 2007 season.
Coach Lane got win #101 Sunday as Rimal made the most of her first pitching appearance of the season by throwing a five-hit, complete-game victory. Rimal, who started five games in 2008 with one complete game, did not allow an earned run in posting her first career victory. She struck out seven. Both Middlebury runs came during the 5th inning when a bit of confusion in the Wesleyan outfield led to a ball being dropped to start the frame. Wesleyan already had a 5-0 lead at the time. Wesleyan got two in the 1st when O?Connell blasted her ninth career home run, setting a Wesleyan record. Wesleyan scored another run in the inning on a walk, a single and the first of three singles on the day by Rimal. When a relay throw got away and went into the Middlebury dugout, Wesleyan picked up an unearned run. The Cardinals made it 4-0 in the 3rd on RBI singles by Rimal and Bello. It was 5-0 in the 4th when Dendy, who singled to extend her hitting streak to 19 games, scored on a groundout by Bernstein.
After Middlebury cut the lead to 5-2 in the 5th, Wesleyan got the runs right back in the bottom of the inning with Mel Kasulis '11 stroking a two-run single to right. The final Wesleyan run came from Bello, who knocked in her second run of the game with a single up the middle. She, like Rimal, had three hits in the game as Wesleyan collected 14 safeties off three Panther pitchers.
Wesleyan moved out-of-conference by facing Western Conn. Tues., April 7 for a pair of games. The Cardinals ran into a buzz saw as Western took victories by scores of 8-2 and 8-1 in five innings (called due to darkness). Western produced 22 hits in the two games including four homers and seven doubles. Dendy picked up two hits, one a double, in the first game to push her hitting streak to 20 games but went 0-for-2 with a walk in the second game.
Wesleyan returns to NESCAC West action over the weekend, facing Little Three rival Williams for a three-game set. The first comes up Fri., April 10 followed by a twin-bill on Sat., April 11. The second game of the double-header is slated for a webcast with details for watching available on the athletics home page under "Webcasts."