Softball: Norwich sweeps Lyndon State in non-conference twin bill

Maria Cuccurullo - softball action vs. USJ

LYNDONVILLE, Vt. – The Norwich University softball team ended its two-game winless streak in a big way with two convincing wins over Lyndon State in non-league action on Thursday afternoon. 

The Cadets won Game 1, 7-0 and then the offense exploded in a big way in Game 2, scoring 17 runs and pounding out 16 hits en route to a 17-0 win in five innings. 

Norwich (10-19-1, 8-10 GNAC) was led offensively by Naomi Rinaldo's (Middlefield, Conn.) 6-for-9 day at the plate with six RBIs as she paced the offense from the three spot in the lineup. 

Sophomore pitcher Rachel Johnson (Stockbridge, Vt.) set a new single-game career high for strikeouts with 16 punch outs in Game 1. She fired a complete-game one-hitter and walked two batters in her most dominant performance of the season to even her record at 7-7 on the season. 

Sophomore Emily Oliver (Sagamore Hills, Ohio) led the way not only the on the mound, but also at the plate in Game 2, going 3-for-5 with two RBIs from the dish. She also struck out six and gave up two hits in five innings of work to pick up her third win of the season in the circle. 

In the first game, Norwich took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first with Oliver hitting a sacrifice fly to score Katie Reid (Gold Canyon, Ariz.). The Cadets held that same 1-0 lead until the top of the fifth when they pushed across three more runs to go up 4-0 and breathe a little easier. 

Rinaldo, Makenna Wade (Pensacola, Fla.) and Olivia Bussiere (Northfield, Vt.) had RBI hits in the fifth. Rinaldo plated another run with a RBI in the sixth and then Maria Cuccurullo (Brick, N.J.) picked up the first RBI hit of her collegiate career in the top of the seventh to score Bussiere and cap the scoring for Game 1. 

In Game 2, Norwich put up a crooked number in every inning, including five runs each in the top of the second and third to pull away quickly from the Hornets. Bussiere and Madison Miller (Long Lake, N.Y.) each had two RBIs, while Justina George (Wallingford, Conn.) went 2-for-3 with two walks, three runs scored and a RBI. 

Freshman Lauren Urie (St. Johnsbury, Vt.) had two hits and a run scored, while classmate Kaylee Blanchard (Worcester, Mass.) notched a hit and run scored as well to round out the Cadets' offensive leaders. 

Norwich closes out the regular season with two road Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) doubleheaders at Rivier on Saturday and then Lasell on Sunday. The Cadets sit seventh in the GNAC standings, one game ahead of Mount Ida and two games ahead of Simmons.