JOHNSON, Vt. – Pounding out 33 hits in two games, the Castleton University softball team earned the doubleheader sweep of conference opponent Johnson State – 12-2 (F/6) and 7-3 (F/8) on Tuesday afternoon.
Castleton improves to 11-15 overall and 7-3 in the North Atlantic Conference with the two wins, while Johnson State falls to 3-21 and 2-8.
Castleton 12, Johnson State 2 (F/6)
Trailing 2-1 heading into the third inning, Castleton broke the game open with four runs before adding three in the next inning and four in the sixth.
Timi Carone led off the third with a bunt single, one of four hits on the day, and advanced to third on Calli Van Gorden's base knock to right. Following Sara Baker's sacrifice fly and Devin Millerick's walk and a stolen base, Briley Blackbird plated two with a single up the middle.
With the lineup turned over, Carone, Baker and Millerick each tallied RBI singles in the top of the fourth to push the Spartan lead to 8-2.
Enforcing the eight-run rule in the sixth, the usual suspects were at it again as Baker doubled to drive in Carone and Van Gorden. During a pinch-hit opportunity, Ally Hoke singled to left to drive in Baker and Millerick, who doubled earlier.
The one through four spots in the Spartan order went 11-for-13 with seven RBI – led by Baker's four – and 10 runs scored – led by Carone's four – during game one.
Taylor Paquette earned her seventh win of the season as she surrendered just two runs in six innings of work.
Castleton 7, Johnson State 3 (F/8)
Castleton was forced to grind in game two as Johnson State pushed the game into extra innings. The Spartans tallied 17 hits in the contest but left 9 on base before plating four in the eighth.
Rachel Mirel came up with the big hit in the next at-bat after Carpenter stole second. The freshman laced a single down the left-field line to bring home the eventual winning run (McCormick). Carpenter also scored on the play and Mirel moved to second on a throwing error by the third basemen.
Beginning the game with three consecutive hits, Castleton jumped out to a 2-0 lead after one. Adding one in the fourth on a Bailey Cummings single, it was 3-0 before the Badgers came storming back.
Johnson State scored three in the bottom of the frame to tie it at 3-3. Each side would continue to put up zeros as neither team scored until the eighth.
Baker (4), McCormick (3), Millerick (2) and Van Gorden (2) were responsible for 11 of the team's 17 base knocks in game two.
From the pitching rubber, McCormick and Paquette combined to throw eight innings. The former went the first four innings and allowed two earned, while Paquette finished the contest without allowing a run to earn the win.
Castleton heads into the conference tournament – to be hosted by Husson University beginning on Friday – as the three seed. The Spartans will face No. 2 New England College in the second game of the day beginning at 12 p.m.
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