Clermont, Fla … The College of New Jersey softball team suffered a pair of losses on Wednesday, falling to Bethel University 2-1 and University of New England 5-1.
The Lions outhit their opponent in both games, but could not get the timely production they needed after generating 14 runs the day prior. The losses drop TCNJ to 6-5 overall this season.
Game One: Bethel 2 TCNJ 1
Senior Ashtin Helmer (Succusunna, NJ/Roxbury) came out on the short end despite pitching effectively over seven innings. She allowed just two runs on three hits and struck out five.
The Royals (4-8) scratched a run in the top of the sixth to break a 1-1 tie. Wendy Roberts delivered a two-out single to center field to score Abbie Bircher, who had walked.
Bethel took a 1-0 lead in the first when Caroline Kivisto hit a solo home run. The Lions drew even in the bottom of the frame when Steph Vuono (Voorhees, NJ/Eastern) walked and eventually scored on a base hit by Jess Santelli (Hillsborough, NJ/Hillsborough).
TCNJ managed to get just one baserunner aboard over the next three innings. In the fifth, they loaded the bases on a pair of bunt singles and a walk. But Royal pitcher Lindsey Edeen escaped the jam with an infield pop-up to end the threat.
The Lions had one last shot to knot the score in the seventh when senior Jaime Purcell (Nutley, NJ/Mount Saint Dominic Academy) singled and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. But Edeen registered a pop-up and ground ball to second to secure the win.
Santelli finished with two hits and an RBI for TCNJ.
Game 2: University of New England 5 TCNJ 1
The Lions struggled to get the timely hits they needed as they left nine runners on base and stranded a runner on third on four occasions. UNE pitcher Sydnee Bessler worked out of multiple jams to improve to 2-0 on the season.
The Nor’easters plated two runs in the first and single run in the third to take a 3-0 lead on the Lions.
Sophomore Madison Levine (Oakland, NJ/Indian Hills) and Jaime Purcell hit back-to-back doubles in the fourth and Cathy Drury (Flanders, NJ/Mt. Olive) lifted a sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to 3-1.
New England answered with two more runs in the fifth to extend its lead to 5-1.
TCNJ loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh. Vuono singled, junior Colleen Phelan (Tinton Falls, NJ/Monmouth Regional) was hit by a pitch, and Santelli extended her hitting streak to 11 games with a single. But Bessler induced a fly ball to left for the final out to raise the Nor’easters record to 5-3.
Senior Katie Hourihan (Neptune, NJ/Neptune) suffered the loss on the mound. She gave up just three earned runs and stuck out seven over six innings.
The Lions are off tomorrow before capping their Florida trip with single games against Bowdoin College and Amherst College on Friday, March 18 at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.