Release courtesy of Castleton University athletic communications
CASTLETON, Vt. – Kayla Wood tossed the first no-hitter of her career on Saturday afternoon, helping Castleton's softball team earn a split with NAC-rival Thomas.
Wood's no-hitter included a career-high 16 strikeouts as the Spartans won 7-0, while just three runners reached base via walk. Castleton dropped the first game of the day by a final score of 3-2, which gives the team a record of 9-9 overall and 4-2 in North Atlantic Conference play following the split. Thomas is now 8-13 overall and 3-1 in conference play.
Chelsea Grady powered the Castleton offense on the day, going a combined 3-for-6 with two home runs, four RBIs and two runs scored. Jessica Babcock was 3-for-7 out of the No. 2 spot in the lineup, driving in one run and scoring one of her own. Tori Swaine had a strong second game for the Spartans, hitting her first career home run while going 2-for-4.
Taylor Paquette suffered her fourth loss of the season for Castleton in the first game, pitching 4.1 innings and allowing three runs, one earned, on four hits. Katie Gagne tossed 2.2 innings of scoreless relief, allowing just one hitter to reach base.
Sonja Morse (jr., South China, Maine / Cony) went the distance for the Terriers in the first game, as the junior threw her 10th complete game of the year to move her record to 8-3 for the time being. Morse struck out nine Spartans and allowed just five hits over seven innings with a pair of earned runs.
Castleton jumped out to an early lead in the first contest, as Grady took a fastball over the middle of the plate deep to left field for her second home run of the season in the bottom half of the first inning.
The two sides would trade zeros until the fourth inning, when junior Korrie Laren (Blackstone, Mass. / Blackstone-Millville) notched her third home run of the season for Thomas, belting a solo shot to left field to make it 1-1.
After Morse set down Castleton in order in the bottom of the fourth, the Terriers came to bat looking to take their first lead of the game. Morse reached base on an error, and came around to score on a base hit down the right-field line by junior Madison Bentz (Ottawa, Ill. / Ottawa Township). Gagne would come on in relief of Paquette following the base hit, allowing a sacrifice fly by freshman Lexi Colpack (Franklin, N.H. / Franklin) to extend the visitors' lead to 3-1.
The two-run lead was short lived, as the Spartans got one back in the bottom of the fifth. Gagne led off with a double before being pinch ran for by Cassidy Auger. A groundout advanced Auger to third before a single by Krista Carcaterra brought her in to score, making the game 3-2 in favor of the visitors.
After both pitchers traded zeros in the sixth inning, Gagne set Thomas down 1-2-3 in the seventh to bring the Spartans to the plate trailing by just one run. A leadoff single by Gagne gave the Spartans the tying run on base. Swaine then reached on an error, advancing the pinch runner to third base with no outs. Morse pitched out of the jam, however, setting down the next three batters to give Thomas a game-one victory.
The Terriers tried to ride the hot hand of Morse into game two, but a pair of first inning home runs by Grady and Swaine gave Castleton a quick 4-0 lead.
The Spartans would tack on two more runs in the second inning, as Babcock notched an RBI single to center field, scoring Sami Carlo and chasing Morse from the game. After Faith Robinson (sr., Auburn, N.H. / Pinkerton Academy) entered in relief, Babcock came around to score on a wild pitch, giving Castleton a 6-0 lead after two complete innings.
After a scoreless third inning, Wood struck out the side in the fourth, bringing her team to the plate still with a 6-0 lead. The Spartans tacked on their final run of the game, as Carcaterra lifted a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Brittany Brayman.
Wood set down the last nine batters she faced in the contest, seven by way of the strikeout, giving her team the 7-0 victory and earning the doubleheader split.
Robinson went 2 2/3 innings out of the bullpen, allowing one run on four hits and two walks. Freshman Haley Littlefield (Mount Desert Island, Maine / Mount Desert Island) finished out the game for the visitors, working two scoreless innings and allowing just a pair of hits.
Thomas returns to the diamond Sunday afternoon with a nonconference doubleheader against Bates beginning at 2 p.m.