NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich University softball team made its 2018 home debut on Thursday afternoon, sweeping Rivier University for its first victories of the season.
Norwich (2-4, 2-2 GNAC) got a walk off single in the bottom of the seventh from Naomi Rinaldo (Middlefield, Conn.) to take Game 1 3-2 and then the Cadets pounded out 15 hits in Game 2 for a 6-2 victory over Raiders to sweep the GNAC doubleheader.
Senior Sarah Perry (New Bedford, Mass.) led the way at the plate and in the circle in Game 2 as she went 4-for-4 to lead the offense, as well as fired a complete game seven-hitter on the mound.
Rinaldo went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and sophomore Makenna Wade (Pensacola, Fla.) followed with a 2-for-3 day at the dish and two more RBIs to account for the Cadets' offensive leaders in the nightcap. Sophomore Katie Reid (Gold Canyon, Ariz.) added two doubles and a run scored.
Norwich did most of its damage in the bottom of the third inning with a four spot to turn a 1-0 deficit to a 4-1 lead after three innings. Rinaldo and Wade each had two RBI hits in the inning to lead the offense.
Perry added a RBi single in the bottom of the fourth to increase the lead to 5-1 and scored Reid. Madelyn Folcik (Wilmot, N.H.) reached on a fielder's choice to pick up her first collegiate RBI, plating Rinaldo in the bottom of the sixth.
Rivier (7-11, 2-2 GNAC) threatened back in the top of the seventh, loading the bases, but the Raiders were only able to muster one run to fall short in the comeback bid.
Perry went the distance to pick up the victory on the mound, scattering seven hits and giving up one earned run. She walked three and struck out four to improve to 1-2 on the season.
In Game 2, Norwich was led by a 3-for-3 game from Reid with two more doubles. She also had a RBI in the bottom of the fourth to increase the Cadets' lead to 2-0. Rivier scored twice in the top of the sixth to tie the game with Taylor Rowsell delivering a two-run single to score Mikayla Ramsdell and Kasey Smith.
Rinaldo came through in the clutch in the bottom of the seventh though with her two-out walk off single to score Perry for the game-winning run.
Junior Emily Oliver (Sagamore Hills, Ohio) was dominant on the mound, throwing seven strong innings giving up just two earned runs on six hits, while striking out 10. She earned her first victory of the season with the performance.
Norwich doubled its batting average coming into Tuesday and is now up to .250 as a team with their 23 hits in the doubleheader.
The Cadets will return to action on Thursday, April 5 when it hosts Lyndon State at 3 and 5 p.m. in another non-conference doubleheader. NU's games vs. Middlebury scheduled for Friday have been postponed, as has the Monday doubleheader at Johnson State.