Russo breaks softball's career hits record, Bobcats split a pair of games to wrap up Florida trip

Senior Andrea Russo watches her record-breaking hit in the Bates softball team's game against New England College on Saturday, March 9, 2019. (Bob Russo for Bates College)

LEESBURG, Fla. -- Senior Andrea Russo tallied three hits on Saturday to break the Bates softball record for hits in a career and the Bobcats split a pair of games with Catholic University and New England College to wrap up their season-opening trip to Florida. 

Russo (Cheshire, Conn.) surpasses Stacia Saniuk '09 for first all-time in the Bates record book with her 128 career hits and counting. Her record-breaking hit came on a line drive single down the left field line in the top of the seventh against New England College.  

Bates (3-9) returns to action on Thursday, March 28 when the Bobcats host the University of New England in a doubleheader that gets underway at 3pm.

Bates 1, Catholic University 0

Junior Kirsten Pelletier tossed a complete game four-hit shutout to lead the Bates softball team to a 1-0 win over Catholic University Saturday morning.

Pelletier (Sidney, Maine) struck out six batters along the way to pick up her third win of the season. 

The Bobcats got the only run they needed in the bottom of the third. With one away, first-year Emily Samar (New York, N.Y.) singled through the right side. She advanced to second on a ground out and first-year Kennedy Ishii (Honolulu, Hawaii) doubled Samar home for the only run of the game.

Pelletier worked around four walks and three Bates errors. She did not record a single 1-2-3 inning in the circle but still blanked the Cardinals (0-1), who left nine runners on base in the game.

First-year Aleah Pagan (Orinda, Calif.) went 2-3 at the plate for the Bobcats and first-year Eliza McNulty (Cambridge, Mass.) went 1-2 with a double. Bates tallied six hits in the win.

Sabrina Scott (0-1) pitched well for the Cardinals in the loss. She struck out three batters in six innings and did not issue a walk.

New England College 3, Bates 2

Destiny Helmedach singled in the winning run in the bottom of the seventh and the New England College Pilgrims edged the Bobcats by a score of 3-2 Saturday morning.

The Bobcats scored twice in the first to take an early lead against Pilgrim starter Emily Farone. With two away, first-year Janell Sato (Honolulu, Hawaii) singled to center and junior Julia Panepinto (Buffalo, N.Y.) singled Sato to third. Panepinto advanced to second base on a wild pitch and Pagan singled in Sato to put the Bobcats up 1-0. With runners at first and third, Bates executed a perfect double steal, with Pagan stealing second and Panepinto scoring on the play to extend the lead to 2-0. Russo followed with her first hit of the day, giving her 126 in her career to that point. However, Bates did not score any more runs in the frame.

In the third inning, Russo recorded her record-tying hit, singling with two outs. Sophomore Mary Collette (Watertown, Conn.) followed with a single of her own but both runners were left stranded. The Bobcats left 12 runners on base in the game.

Pelletier (3-5) shut down the Pilgrims (8-4) through the first three innings before they tied things up in the fourth. With one out, Emily Nelson and Daelyn Ross recorded back-to-back singles. Shawnie Clark singled in Nelson and Alexis Hoelzel bunted in the tying run.

The Bobcats recorded 12 hits against Farone but couldn't get another run across the plate. Meanwhile, Pelletier held the Pilgrims to eight hits and struck out seven batters on the day.

In the top of the seventh, Pagan singled with two outs for Bates. Then Russo smacked her record-breaking hit down the left field line. Collette drew a walk to load the bases but a fly out ended the frame. 

Alexa Scribner singled to start the bottom of the seventh. After a Bates error advanced her to third on the next play, Helmedach singled Scribner home to end the game.

Russo finished the game 3-4 at the plate and Pagan went 2-4 with an RBI and a stolen base. Collette finished 2-3 with a walk and a stolen base. Both pitchers tossed complete games, with Pelletier taking the hard-luck loss.