NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Sophomore catcher Christie Bott (Seaford, N.Y.) was 3-4 with a double and a run batted in, while first year pitcher Maddie Castigliego (Bristol, R.I.) allowed just a run on three hits to lead the Simmons University softball team to a 3-1 opening game victory, before falling in the nightcap to host Norwich University, 4-2, today in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference doubleheader at the NU Softball Field in Northfield, Vt. The Sharks end the regular season with a 19-21 overall mark and had their nine-game winning streak snapped in the second game as they fell to 13-3 in league play, while the Cadets end the regular slate at 14-14 and 8-8.
Simmons finishes the season as the number one seed in the GNAC South Division and will serve as the host site for the 2019 GNAC Softball Championship Tournament at Daly Field in Brighton, Mass. The Sharks will play again on Thursday, May 2 at 7:00 p.m. with the opponent yet to be determined. Norwich earned the number four seed in the GNAC North division and will face number three seed in a GNAC Tournament First Round matchup on April 30. That game will be single elimination with the winner advancing to the second round and the double-elimination portion of the tournament that begins on May 2.
Bott finished the day going, 4-6 with a double, an RBI and a run scored for the Sharks, while Castigliego hurled a complete game victory in eight innings without issuing a walk in addition to striking out a batter to improve to 11-5 on the season. The starting pitcher was 1-3 at the plate and knocked in a run. First year third base Alex Morang (Windham, Maine) was also 4-6 with a double and a run batted in for Simmons. Junior center fielder Lauren Del Vacchio (Murrieta, Calif.) also had multiple hits for the visitors, going 2-6 with a double and a run scored.
Senior Emily Oliver (Sagamore Hills, Ohio) paced the Cadets going 4-6 with a run scored, while Brittany Vandergoef (Lodi, N.J.) was 2-5 with an RBI and a run scored. Makenna Wade (Saint Johns, Fla.) collected two hits in six at-bats and scored a pair of runs.
The Sharks scored a pair of runs in the eighth inning to win their ninth straight. Del Vacchio drove in sophomore right fielder Danielle Carson (Ashland, Mass.) to give Simmons a 2-1 edge, before Bott cracked a double of her own to plate Del Vacchio with the team's third run for the eventual victory.
The Sharks opened the scoring of game one with a run in the fourth when Bott stroke a leadoff single, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on a two-out single to left center field off the bat of Castigliego. Norwich responded in the bottom of the fifth inning when Wade opened the frame with a single and scored when Kaylee Blanchard (Worcester, Mass.) launched an RBI double over the centerfielder's head to tie the game at 1-1.
Oliver was the tough-luck loser in the circle for Norwich, giving up seven hits and two earned runs while striking out five to fall to 10-7 on the season.
The Cadets broke a 2-2 tie with a pair of runs in the sixth to gain a victory in game two.
Senior Madison Miller (Patterson, Ga.) broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the sixth with a two-run single to center field to score Vandergroef and Blanchard for the eventual game-winning run and an insurance tally.
Simmons took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning with an RBI double to right center from Morang that scored first year catcher Shannon McMahon (El Cajon, Calif.), who reached via a base on balls. Norwich answered in the bottom of the inning when it scored twice after loading the bases on a single from Oliver coupled with a pair of Shark errors to set up a run-producing single down the left field line from Vandergroef in the nine hole of the order. Simmons knotted the score in the top of the fifth when first year shortstop Allie Mulhern (Westford, Mass.) opened the frame with a single and later scored on an error to pull the Sharks even at 2-2.
Vandergroef gave up two runs (one earned) on six hits and a strikeout while walking one to improve to 4-4 on the season for the home team, while sophomore starting pitcher Hailey Yabroudy (Amherst, N.H.) (7-8) suffered the loss for Simmons, allowing four runs (three earned) on nine hits and two walks.