Softball: Norwich offense explodes vs. Middlebury

Naomi Rinaldo takes a swing at the plate vs. USJ - Softball

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - The Norwich University softball team's offense continued to stay hot with 26 hits and 19 runs in a non-league doubleheader at Middlebury College on Monday afternoon. 

Despite the offensive explosion, Norwich lost 11-10 in the first game and settled for a 9-9 tie in the second game before it was called due to darkness. 

Sophomore centerfielder Naomi Rinaldo (Middlefield, Conn.) went 6-for-7 with five RBIs to lead the Cadets' offense on the day in their first games vs. Middlebury since 2007. 

In Game 1, Norwich (5-14-1) fell behind 7-0 after two innings, but the Cadets scored eight runs in the top of the third inning, highlighted by a two-run home run by Rinaldo for her second round tripper of the year. 

Middlebury (13-8-1) battled back with a two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth inning by Sarah Freyre to give the Panthers a 9-8 lead. Middlebury added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to take an 11-8. 

Norwich tried to rally in the the top of the seventh with Makenna Wade (Pensacola, Fla.) doubling home Rinaldo and Katie Reid (Gold Canyon, Ariz.) hitting a sacrafice fly to plate Emily Oliver (Sagamore Hills, Ohio). 

In Game 2, eight of Norwich's nine starters registered a hit with Rinaldo going 3-for-3 with three RBIs and a walk. Wade, Reid, Madison Miller (Long Lake, N.Y.) and Sarah Peyton (Eagle River, Alaska) each had two hits as well.

Justina George (Wallingford, Conn.) and Miller each scored two runs, while George drew two more walks to bring her team-leading total to 12.  

Norwich trailed 6-4 heading to the top of the fifth inning but the Cadets scored five runs to take a 9-6 lead. However, Middlebury came storming back with three runs in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game before it was called due to darkness.

Norwich returns to GNAC action on Tuesday when it travels to WPI to take on Anna Maria in another league doubleheader.