Softball beats UMF at home behind three pitchers and Panepinto's home run

Julia Panepinto hops on home plate after clouting a two-run home run in Bates' 4-1 victory over UMaine-Farmington on April 18, 2019. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- Junior Julia Panepinto hit a two-run home run, her fifth of the season, and three Bates pitchers combined to hold UMaine-Farmington to two hits as the Bobcats defeated the visiting Beavers 4-1 Thursday afternoon at Lafayette Street Field.

Bates (11-15) won its third straight as it began a five-game homestand. The Bobcats will host a NESCAC East Division doubleheader against Trinity College on Friday beginning at 3pm.

UMF (8-13) plays a doubleheader at Lasell Friday at 3pm.

Bates sophomore Jevan Sandhu (Plymouth, N.H.) blanked the Beavers over the first three innings before handing the ball to first-year Danielle Polirer (Bellmore, N.Y.). Polirer (2-0) walked four Beavers over 2.1 innings but allowed only one hit and one unearned run, earning the victory for the second straight game after her victory at Southern Maine Wednesday night. Sophomore Payton Buxton (Middlebury, Vt.) recorded the final five outs for Bates and earned her first collegiate save.

Sandhu gave up a leadoff double to Makayla Wilson to start the game, but left her and Alyssa Dillan (walk) stranded to start the game.

Bates then took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Sophomore Caroline Bass (Newton, Mass.) led off with a single to left and stole second base. Sophomore Mary Collette (Watertown, Conn.) walked and first-year Janell Sato (Honolulu, Hawaii) singled to load the bases for senior Andrea Russo (Cheshire, Conn.), whose ground ball to shortstop scored Bass.

The Beavers tied the game in the top of the fourth off of Polirer. Haley Holt drew a walk, stole second base, moved to third base on a wild pitch and then scored as Karen Flaherty reached safely on a throwing error.

But Bates retook the lead in the bottom of the inning, scoring again on a fielder's choice. Russo reached on an error to lead off, then reached second on Panepinto's (Buffalo, N.Y.) sharp single down the left field line. Russo was forced out on sophomore Erin Murphy's (North Andover, Mass.) ground ball to shortstop, then first-year pinch hitter Eliza McNulty (Cambridge, Mass.) drew a walk to load the bases. First-year Kennedy Ishii's (Honolulu, Hawaii) grounder to third scored Panepinto with the go-ahead run before UMF pitcher Brianna McGrath ended the rally with another grounder.

The Bobcats doubled their score in the sixth inning in short order, as Russo led off with an infield single and Panepinto followed with a line drive over the fence in left-center field to make it 4-1. The homer moved Panepinto into a tie for third place in the NESCAC with five; it is the seventh of her career.

Buxton came on in relief of Polirer with a runner on and one out in the top of the sixth. Buxton left the runner stranded with a strikeout to end the inning, then set down the Beavers in order in the seventh to clinch the win. Sandhu, Polirer and Buxton combined for seven strikeouts in the game, issuing five walks and allowing just two hits.

McGrath (6-5) allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits and four walks over six innings, striking out one batter.