CASTLETON, VT – The Thomas softball team has advanced to the second day of the North Atlantic Conference Tournament. The third-seeded Terriers (15-22) fell in their first game against second-seeded Husson 3-1, but rebounded to remain alive and eliminate top-seeded Castleton 5-1.
Thomas struck first but Husson took back the lead on a Sami Schultz home run to earn a 3-1 victory over the Terriers in the second game of the NAC Tournament.
Husson (24-11) starter Kayla Merrill allowed just four hits all afternoon in securing her 13th win of the year. She did give up a solo home run but struck out four. Schultz went yard and Casey Lopes finished 3-for-4 to pace the offense.
For Thomas, Sonja Morse was saddled with the loss as she gave up nine hits and three earned runs in six innings with four walks and four strikeouts. Taylor M. Johnson finished with two of the team's four hits.
The Terriers opened the scoring in the top of the first as Alyssa Eugley hit a solo home run over the fence in left field for the 1-0 lead. It was Eugley's third home run of the season.
Morse kept Husson off the board until the bottom of the third. Lyndsay Merrill singled with one out and Casey Lopes followed with a double down the left field line. Following a foul out, Sami Schultz launched a ball over the left field fence to put the Eagles in front 3-1. Morse then gave up consecutive singles before a strikeout ended the frame.
Thomas threatened in the bottom of the sixth as Brianna Warren ripped a one-out double off third base and down the left field line. However, Merrill induced back-to-back pop-ups to get out of the inning. She then took care of the Terriers in the seventh to secure the win.
Thomas erupted for a five-run fourth to secure a 5-1 victory in a NAC Tournament elimination game on Saturday afternoon at Spartan Field.
Sonja Morse picked up her eight win of the season after pitching a complete game with just one earned run along with six strikeouts. Taylor Paquette suffered her fourth loss of the season after giving up five runs (two earned) in 3.2 innings of work, while Katie Gagne and Kayla Wood combined to toss 2.1 innings of scoreless relief.
Jordan Agger-Barnes went 2-for-3 at the plate with a pair of singles, and Morse added a solo home run that got the five-run fourth started. Chelsea Grady and Kristi Lawless led the Castleton attack with two hits apiece, whereas Gagne went 1-for-2 with a solo home run.
Neither team was able to get anything going until the bottom of the fourth inning when Thomas' bats came alive with four hits and five runs to take a five-run lead.
Morse began the scoring with a solo shot to left field before Korrie Laren and Agger-Barnes hit back-to-back singles. Emily McKenney was walked later in the frame to load the bases, and Taylor M. Johnson followed with a bases loaded walk to plate the second run of the afternoon.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Lindsy Hoopingarner came through in the clutch with a shot to the shortstop that plated another run, and in the next at-bat, Briana Warren capped off the scoring with a two-run double through the right side to put the Terriers ahead 5-0.
The Spartans got one back in the top half of the fifth, as Gagne smashed her fourth home run of the season to straightaway center field to close the gap back to four.
However, Castleton was unable to complete the comeback, as Morse closed out the game with a pair of shutout innings to secure a 5-1 Thomas victory and eliminate the Spartans from tournament play.
With the loss, the No. 1 seed Spartans are eliminated from the tournament and finish their season at 19-12. Thomas stays alive with the win and will face the loser of game four (Husson vs. New England College) tomorrow at noon.