Softball: Cadets drop pair in Florida to kick off 2017 season

Naomi Rinaldo - cover second base - Fitchburg State March 13

LEESBURG, Fla. – The Norwich University softball team dropped its first two games of the 2017 season at the annual The Spring Games to kick off their spring break Florida trip. 

The Cadets fell 5-0 to Western New England in the first game and then 13-5 to Fitchburg State in the second game of the day. 

In Game 1, sophomores Madison Miller (Long Lake, N.Y.) and Emily Oliver (Sagamore Hills, Ohio) each had two hits, while Naomi Rinaldo (Middlefield, Conn.) added one as well to account for all of the Cadets' five hits. 

Western New England (5-1) took a 1-0 lead in the second inning and then broke the game open with a three-run fourth inning to take a 4-0 lead. The Golden Bears tacked on one more run in the bottom of the sixth inning as well. 

WNE's Sarah Broderick threw five shutout innings and gave up just three hits while striking out seven Cadets. NU's Oliver took the loss, going all six innings giving up five earned runs on eight hits and five walks, while striking out. 

In Game 2, the Norwich offense woke up a bit as the Cadets pounded out 10 hits, highlighted by a three-run home run in the bottom of the fourth inning by Rinaldo. Miller added two hits again, while Sarah Perry (New Bedford, Mass.), Jessica Hindman (Mansfield, Mass.) and Lauren Urie (St. Johnsbury, Vt.) each racked up two hits as well for Norwich. 

Rinaldo's three-run blast in the bottom of the fourth briefly tied the game at 4-4, but Fitchburg State (2-2) responded with five runs in the top of the fifth inning, highlighted by a grand slam by Jessalynne Brown to seize control of the game again. NU got one back in the bottom of the fifth with Perry scoring on a passed ball to cut the lead to 9-5. 

However, that's as close as the Cadets would get as the Falcons added four more runs in the top of the seventh to cap the scoring. 

Sophomore pitcher Rachel Johnson (Stockbridge, Vt.) went 4.2 innings, giving up five hits and eight earned runs, while striking out seven hitters. 

Norwich (0-2) faces SUNY Fredonia on Tuesday, March 14 at 8 a.m. and then follows up with a 1 p.m. first pitch vs. Macalester.