The Norwich University softball team used a six-run fourth inning to power past Suffolk 8-1 on Tuesday afternoon at the NU Softball Field in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Tournament First Round action.
Freshman shortstop Melissa Rome(Enfield, Conn.) broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth inning with a three-run double that provided more than enough run support for freshmanpitcher Corinne Baita (Rochester, N.H.) to pick up her 13thwin of the season in the circle.
With the bases loaded, Rome hit a shot right back up the middle at Suffolk starting pitcher Sarah Chasse's feet that bounced off the second base bag and into the left-centerfield gap to force the Rams' centerfielder and leftfielder to retreat and chase the ball back to the fence.
Baita, Pam Dubey (Plymouth, N.H.)and Noel Byers (Iron Mountain, Mich.)all scored on the play to give Norwich a 3-0 lead. However, the Cadets weren't done yet as they tacked on three more runs in the inning. Sophomore outfielder Kim Comtois (Northwood, N.H.)followed up by lacing a RBI double into the right-centerfield gap to plate Rome. Comtois later scored on a passed ball and then freshman outfielder Kelly Travers (Whitman, Mass.)capped the big inning with a RBI single to score Abby Belcher (Winthrop, Mass.).
Suffolk (20-21) briefly cut into the lead in the top of the sixth inning when Erin McAndrews launched her fourth home run of the season over the right field fence to make it 6-1.
However, Norwich responded right back in the bottom half of the inning when Travers hit her team-leading seventh home run of the season to score Belcher as well and push the Norwich lead to 8-1.
Baita continued her impressive late season surge as she went the distance, surrendering just one run on four hits, while walking three and striking out six. She has now won five straight games and is now 8-1 in her last nine appearances. Overall on the year, she is 13-6 with a 2.43 ERA and 108 strikeouts in 118 innings pitched.
Chasse took the loss for Suffolk after going 3 1/3rdinnings giving up three earned runs on four hits while walking three and striking out five.
With Tuesday's win, Norwich avenged its two regular season losses to Suffolk which were dominated by Chasse as the Rams' freshman pitcher struck out 20 Cadets in 10 innings pitched to record a win and a save on April 15.
Norwich now advances to the GNAC Quarterfinal round where it will meet No. 3-seeded Simmons on Friday at 2 p.m. at Saint Joseph's (Maine). The rest of the tournament is a double-elimination format. With a win against Simmons, NU would play again right afterwards against Saint Joseph's (Maine). With a loss, Norwich would fall into the loser's bracket and would face the loser of the Rivier/Johnson & Wales/Emerson side of the bracket.
(Story courtesy of Norwich University Sports Information)