Gardner a Bright Spot in Bridgewater Losses

©Christine Cochrane
©Christine Cochrane

BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – After a run of excellent play, the Buccaneers' torrid softball bats were quieted by Bridgewater State University in a 5-0, 17-1 MASCAC sweep. The Bears allowed Massachusetts Maritime Academy only seven hits and hung two crooked numbers in the game two romp. Rachel Gardner reached base in four of her eight plate appearances to lead the Bucs.

Game One
Maritime starter Jenna Nalette used a nifty caught stealing and a seven-pitch strikeout to get the Bucs two outs in the first, but Bridgewater set the tone for the rest of the day by using a throwing error to score a run and prolong the inning. Two more singles were struck and a second run had scored before the inning ended, and the Bears coasted from that point.

The Buccaneers put two runners on with two outs in the second and fourth, but Natalie Sorrenti prevented further damage each time.

Another error in the bottom of the fifth started a rally after Tabitha Domeij and Kacie Carvalho rapped back-to-back safeties to make the score 3-0. The final runs for BSU scored after a Shannon Grindle lead-off single in the sixth set up a Heller double before Domeij singled home the fifth marker of the game.

Sorrenti needed only five pitches to go 1-2-3 in the seventh and earn her seventh win of the season against one defeat. She allowed only three hits on the day, striking out three without walking a batter. Carvalho and Meghan Navarro had three hits for a Bear lineup that accumulated 16 hits.

Rachel Gardner, Jill Corazzini, and Madison Coughlin had the Bucs three hits, while Nalette (2-8) was the victim of long innings as she allowed only three earned runs in six frames, striking out two and walking one.

Game Two
Bridgewater State jumped to an early lead in the nightcap thanks to a three-run bomb from Jenny Heller in the first. Three errors and a two-run single from Courtney Gouveia and a run-scoring double from Carvalho contributed to a six-run opening frame.

Kaitlyn Shaw was excellent in the early innings for the Bears, who added to her run support with a three-run second. Alexandra Ruprecht had a two-run safety and Domeij doubled to make the score 9-0 with only six outs in the game.

After Shaw dealt with the Bucs in the top of the third, BSU put up another six in the home half of the inning. The scoring came on the back of four errors, while Gouveia notched a run-scoring single and Heller added two more RBI on a base knock.

The Buccaneer bats finally got going in the top of the fourth as Gardner earned an eight-pitch walk and Corazzini moved her over on a sacrifice bunt. After a Shaw strikeout, Madison Coughlin drove her home with a single through the left side. A Sarah Monteiro walk put two runners on, but the Bears' hurler escaped without any further damage.

The final two runs of the day came in the bottom of the frame after Bridgewater loaded the bases on two singles and a hit batter. Ruprecht laced a hit to left center and Domeij had a RBI-grounder.

A second walk by Gardner was all the visitors could manage and Shaw improved to 7-3. She scattered four hits and three free passes over five, striking out two in the win.

Heller backed her up with a 3-for-4, five RBI performance, while Samantha Mulcahy had hits in all four of her at bats in the leadoff spot. Four other players collected a brace of hits as BSU totalled 18 in game two.

Gardner reached base all three times to the plate, while Carli Thomas was 2-for-2. Coughlin joined Gardner as the only Buccaneer to have hits on both ends of the twinbill. Cochrane twirled the first 2 1/3, while Nalette came out for another 1 2/3 to finish the game.

Bridgewater improved to 8-4 in MASCAC play and 16-16 overall. The Bears are in a three-way tie for second place with one conference series at Westfield State (13-17, 8-4) remaining. Maritime falls to 3-23, 1-11 and will take on league-leading Worcester State University (18-9, 10-2) as part of a four-game homestand beginning Thursday when Pine Manor College comes to town for a 3:30 doubleheader.

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Gabriel Fidler, Sports Information Associate