Softball: Norwich drops pair at Univ. of St. Joseph

Softball: Norwich drops pair at Univ. of St. Joseph

HARTFORD, Conn. - The Norwich University softball team's recent skid continued on Thursday afternoon as the Cadets were swept by the Univ. of St. Joseph in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) action.

Norwich (5-11, 3-9 GNAC) lost its seventh straight game and was swept for the third straight series as its recent woes continued.

In Game 1, Amaria Sharon fired a complete-game four-hitter to lead USJ to the victory in the opener. Norwich junior pitcher Emily Oliver (Sagamore Hills, Ohio) dueled with Sharon but couldn't quite keep up, surrenduring nine hits and four earned runs in six innings of work. 

Oliver led the way offensively for the Cadets in the opener, notching two hits off Sharon and a RBI to to score Naomi Rinaldo (Middlefield, Conn.) for the Cadets' lone run. Rinaldo and Olivia Bussiere (Northfield, Vt.) each picked up hits as well.

In Game 2, Norwich's bats woke up, pounding out 15 hits to USJ's 14. However, the Cadets still fell short as they had the game-tying run cut down at the plate in the top of the seventh inning to preserve a 7-6 win for USJ.

Sophomore second baseman Katie Reid (Gold Canyon, Ariz.) led the Cadets' offense with a 3-for-4 effort from the plate with two runs scored. Sarah Perry (New Bedford, Mass.), Rinaldo, Oliver and Makenna Wade (Pensacola, Fla.) each had two hits as well for Norwich. Rinaldo, Oliver, Wade, Madison Miller (Long Lake, N.Y.) and Madelyn Folcik (Wilmot, N.H.) each had a RBI for the Cadets too. 

Jenna Sprague (Brookfield, Vt.) made her first collegiate start, throwing 5.2 innings and giving up 14 hits and seven earned runs. 

Game 2 was a back-and-forth affair with Norwich taking an early 1-0 lead and then constantly coming back against USJ throughout the rest of the game. Norwich cut the deficit to 7-6 in the top of the seventh with Miller scoring Wade on a RBI ground out. Reid then singled as the next hitter but Brittany Vandergroef (Lodi, N.J.) was thrown out at the plate trying to score from second base. 

Perry doubled in the top of the sixth inning to score Reid unearned and briefly tie the game at 5-5 before USJ added two more runs in the bottom half of the inning. The double was Perry's 100th hit of her career.

Norwich will look to get back on track when it returns home to take on Lasell College and Anna Maria College on Saturday and Sunday. The Cadets will face Lasell at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday and then host Anna Maria at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Norwich desperately needs a good weekend to stay in the hunt for the 2018 playoffs.