NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich University softball team saw its six-game winning streak come to an end with a pair of losses to Saint Joseph's College (Maine) on Sunday afternoon in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) action on Sabine Field.
Norwich (8-8, 2-2 GNAC North) went back and forth in an offensive battle in Game 1, ultimately falling 9-8, before dropping Game 2 by a score of 9-1 to the Monks (6-11, 4-0 GNAC North) who stayed perfect in league action on the season.
The Cadets led 1-0 early, then trailed 3-1 only to rally to take a 4-3 after three innings, but a costly four-run top of the fourth inning, including a throwing error that led to a run proved to be the difference in the game to snap Norwich's win streak and deal the Cadets their first home loss of 2019.
The meat of the Norwich lineup with the two through five hitters went 9-for-15 to do most of the damage offensively, led by two hits and three RBIs from cleanup hitter Naomi Rinaldo (Middlefield, Conn.). Freshman Dara Kelly (Chesterfield, N.J.) went 3-for-4 at the plate with a team-leading three runs scored and a RBI coming on a triple in the bottom of the fourth inning that cut the Saint Joseph's (Maine) lead to 7-6.
Vandergroef took the loss in the circle, suffering her first collegiate loss after going all seven innings and giving up seven earned runs on nine hits and four walks.
The Saint Joseph's (Maine) offense was led in Game 1 by a huge 3-for-4 effort from Melodie Bailey, who also had a game-high four RBIs, including a two-run single to centerfield in the top of the fourth inning that broke a 4-4 tie. Junior second baseman Libby Pomerleau also went 2-for-4 at the dish with two runs scored and a RBI from the leadoff spot to pace the Monks' offense.
Kate Whitney outlasted Vandergroef to earn the victory in Game 1 and improve to 3-5 on the year for the Monks. She gave up six earned runs on 10 hits and four walks.
Game 2 was all Saint Joseph's (Maine) from the opening pitch as Pomerleau once again kick started the Monks' offense with a single to centerfield to open the game and then SJC never looked back, pushing across four runs in the first inning.
The Cadets committed one error to aid the inning but Meghan Elliott, Bailey and Megan Eagleston all had RBIs for the Monks to build up the early 4-0 lead.
Norwich got a run back in the bottom of the second inning with Makenna Wade (Saint Johns, Fla.) picking up a sacrifice fly RBI to centerfield to score Rinaldo for the Cadets' only run of Game 2.
That's as close as Norwich would get though as the Monks tacked on two more in the fourth, one in the sixth and two more in the seventh to cruise to the victory.
Pomerleau continued her impressive day going 3-for-4 in Game 2 with a RBI. Elliott added three hits as well and Grace Chadbourne had a two-RBI double in the top of the seventh for the Monks as well.
Cailtlyn King kept Norwich's batters off balance all game, throwing a complete game, four-hitter and allowing one unearned run while striking out two. King improved to 3-5 on the season.
Oliver was saddled with the loss for the Cadets, falling to 6-4 on the year after giving up 14 hits and six earned runs, while striking out five.
Norwich will look to get back on track next Saturday, April 13 when it travels to Suffolk for another GNAC doubleheader. The Cadets will host Emmanuel on Sunday, April 14 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.