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Softball completes wild comeback, beats Colby 10-9

LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates College softball team scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning for a 10-9 comeback win over Colby College on Friday in NESCAC East Division action at Lafayette Street Field.

The Bobcats (8-6, 2-2 NESCAC East) had nine of their 11 hits and eight of their 10 runs in the final three innings off of Colby pitcher Megan Michie, who had a no-hitter going for the Mules (4-11, 0-1 NESCAC East) until the fourth inning.

Colby staged a two-out rally to score an insurance run in the top of the seventh off of Bates senior pitcher Kristen Finn (Winthrop, Mass.) to take a 9-6 lead, as Lauren Becker drew a walk, moved to second on Katie Graichen's infield single, then came home on Bri Wheeler's single up the middle. Another infield single loaded the bases with Mules, but Finn kept them from further damage by inducing Lindsay Peterson into a ground ball to end the inning.

Bates senior Kelly McManus (Plymouth, N.H.) led off the bottom of the inning with a sharp single off of Colby third baseman Wheeler's glove, and senior Lauren Dobish (Chambersburg, Pa.) moved her to second with another well-struck base hit into left field. Senior Leah Maciejewski (Tewksbury, Mass.) then ripped a double down the right-field line to score McManus, before Michie struck out junior AnnaMarie Martino (Plymouth, Minn.) for the first out of the inning, then punched out senior Kiely Webster (Bethesda, Md.) to put Colby within an out of clinching the win.

Sophomore Alayna Garbarino (Reading, Mass.) came up to face Michie and stroked a double just beyond the reach of Colby left fielder Becker, scoring Dobish and then Maciejewski for the game-tying run. Bates' next batter, senior Libby King (South Portland, Maine), then put the ball into play, and the result was Colby's fourth error of the game. Garbarino rounded third as Becker gathered the ball in left field, and she slid under catcher Erica Pulford's tag for the dramatic, game-ending run.

Finn allowed nine runs (five earned) on 14 hits and four walks in coming away with the complete-game victory to raise her record to 3-4. Michie allowed eight earned runs over 6.2 innings on 11 hits and two walks, while striking out nine Bobcats, to drop to 2-3.

Colby took control of the game early on, beginning with a pair of runs in the first. Meaghan Lewis led off with a walk and later scored on Wheeler's fielder's choice. Becker followed Lewis with a bunt single, and she later scored on Pulford's RBI single.

Bates got its first two runs without the benefit of a hit. Martino reached on a two-base error in the second, stole third base and scored on a wild pitch. In the third, senior Courtney Talcott (Sutton, Mass.) walked, got to second on an illegal pitch, moved on to third on a wild pitch, then scored on a groundout by McManus.

But the Bobcats trailed 4-2 after three, thanks to another big inning in the third. Graichen led off with a double to left, and Pulford drove her home with a one-out double to right center. Pulford moved to third on a sharp single to left by Peterson, and Pulford came home when Aimee Polimeno reached on an error.

Colby added runs in the fourth and fifth innings to assume a 6-2 lead. Becker reached on one of Bates' four errors in the fourth, got to third on a wild pitch and came home on Wheeler's single. Peterson led off the fifth with a single up the middle and Polimeno bunted her over. Peterson then scored as Bates committed a wild pitch and a throwing error on a single play.

Down four runs, Bates began its comeback in the bottom of the fifth. Senior Karen Ullmann (Ramsey, N.J.) led off with a shot to left center that nearly left the yard, but Ullmann reached third base standing up for her fifth triple of the season, extending her own Bates career record to 14 triples.

McManus's fly ball to center field scored Ullmann to close the gap to 6-3, bringing up Dobish. The co-captain hit a long fly ball that went foul before turning on Michie's next offering for a solo home run to left center, Dobish's second round-tripper of the season. The score was closed to 6-4 and Bates' energy level was rising quickly.

Colby emphasized that it still had the lead and wasn't rolling over in the top of the sixth, adding two more runs on three hits while taking advantage of another Bates error. Becker led off the inning with an infield single, and she scored on Wheeler's one-out single up the middle. Pulford followed with a hard single down the left-field line, but a good play by Talcott in left held the runners to first and second. Pinch runner Alanna Sanborn and Pulford moved up on one of Finn's four wild pitches in the game, and Colby loaded the bases when Peterson reached the open first base safely on a fielder's choice. Polimeno then hit into another fielder's choice; Sanborn scored on a throwing error to the plate, but Pulford, steaming homeward from third, was tagged out by Finn after taking a flip from the catcher Martino. But the damage was done, as Colby took an 8-4 lead into the bottom of the sixth.

Bates' suddenly percolating offense rapped out three more hits in the bottom of the sixth, closing the gap to 8-6 heading into the game's final inning. Martino led off with a single, and pinch hitter Webster stroked a single to right field. Garbarino then smacked a single through the left side to score Martino and advance Webster to third. Finn then came up to hit for King, and her groundout scored Webster to close the gap to 8-6.

Garbarino was 3-for-4 in the game with three RBIs to lead Bates hitters. Dobish and Martino had two hits and two runs scored apiece, and McManus was 1-for-3 with a pair of RBIs.

Pulford went 4-for-5 on the day and drove in two runs, while Wheeler was 3-for-5 with four RBIs. Becker went 2-for-4 and scored four runs for the Mules.

The teams will meet again tomorrow for a doubleheader at Colby, starting at 12pm.

Box Score and Play by Play: Bates 10, Colby 9