Morgan Simpson ’09 notched two wins and knocked a game-winning double as softball (17-16, 6-3 in the NESCAC) took two of three games from Middlebury over the weekend. The Panthers (11-16, 2-7) pulled out a 6-2 victory in Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader, before falling for the second time to the Ephs, 4-3. Heading into this weekend’s series with Amherst, Williams is currently ranked second in the NESCAC West, behind Wesleyan.
The Ephs won the series opener on Friday, 4-1, thanks in part to a complete game from Simpson and a two-run homerun from Becky Sanson ’09.
Williams jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first. With two outs and none on, Katie Powers ’08 drilled a double off the left field fence. Libby Copeland-Halperin ’09 then brought her home by singling to left.
With the score still at 1-0, Williams added the remainder of its runs in the third. Sansone took advantage of a Joey Lye ’09 walk, knocking a two-run homer over the center field fence. Simpson and Copeland-Halperin kept the rally going with back-to-back singles, as Taryn Goodman ’08 brought the fourth run across the plate with a fielder’s choice.
Simpson kept her shutout going into the seventh inning, when Middlebury staged a brief comeback. Two singles and an error loaded the bases with only one out. A fielder’s choice then scored one, but Simpson forced the next batter to ground out to secure the win for the Ephs.
She pitched seven innings, surrendering one unearned run and only five hits. Simpson also fanned five and walked none.
In Game 1 of the twinbill, the Ephs took the lead early once again, but with solid pitching from Middlebury’s Brittany Burke, they failed to hold on and eventually lost the contest 6-2.
A Caitlyn Cain ’11 RBI single in the second and a Powers solo shot in the third put Williams up 2-0. “Katie Powers had some key at bats this weekend, knocking in big runs and putting herself on-base when we needed her to,” Simpson said.
But Middlebury closed the gap with a run in the fourth and then took the lead for good with two runs in the fifth. Middlebury’s Kristin Maletsky put the game away in the sixth inning by blasting a three-run shot off Simpson, who had come in to relieve Mary Beth Daub ’11.
In the nightcap, the Ephs almost let another early lead get away from them. Copeland-Halperin and Goodman both knocked in runners to give the women a 2-0 lead in the first. Another run in the next frame gave Williams a three-run advantage.
But the Panthers picked up two runs in the third and held the Ephs scoreless until they added the equalizer in the sixth inning off Simpson, who pitched in relief for Margaret Ryan ’08. Ryan had gone 4 1/3 innings, surrendering two runs on two hits.
With the score tied 3-3 entering the seventh, Simpson forced two groundouts and struck out a batter, to bring the Ephs into the final frame with a chance to pull out the win.
Powers started the inning by drawing a walk and advanced to second when Copeland-Halperin followed with a fielder’s choice. Simpson, with one out and the winning run in scoring position, then roped a double that went just beyond the reach of the Panther centerfielder, bringing Powers across the plate for the 4-3 game-winner.
“In the second game we came back with intensity and a determination to win,” Simpson said. “We fought hard to redeem ourselves from the loss.”
Williams will host RPI in a doubleheader tonight before facing off against Amherst in a three-game series this weekend.