Softball falls 6-2 to No. 2 Williams in NESCAC quarterfinals

Eliza McNulty homered for the second straight game in the Bates softball team's 6-2 loss to No. 2 nationally ranked Williams in the 2019 NESCAC tournament quarterfinals. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

MEDFORD, Mass. -- The No. 2 nationally ranked Williams College Ephs scored six unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth to break a scoreless tie, defeating the Bates softball team 6-2 in the NESCAC tournament quarterfinals.

The game was suspended due to darkness Friday night and completed Saturday morning. 

Junior Kirsten Pelletier (Sidney, Maine) turned in an outstanding performance on the mound for Bates (15-21), tossing a complete game and striking out seven batters while walking two. Pelletier (11-12) scattered eight hits over six innings and did not allow an earned run.

Rebecca Duncan (12-2) earned the win for the Ephs (32-4) in the circle, going the distance while allowing two runs on five hits. She walked two and struck out three.

Two infield singles and a single to center loaded the bases for Williams with two outs in the bottom of the fifth. A catcher's interference call allowed the first run of the inning to score. Then two more runs scored on a Bates error, extending the Ephs lead to 3-0. Two more singles scored three more runs, making the score 6-0 in favor of the Ephs.

Down 6-0 entering Saturday morning, the Bobcats refused to back down. Senior Andrea Russo (Cheshire, Conn.) got hit by a pitch to start the top of the sixth and one out later first-year Eliza McNulty (Cambridge, Mass.) smacked her second home run in as many games, cutting the Williams lead to 6-2.

But Duncan took care of business from there to secure the win and send Williams to the NESCAC tournament semifinals. 

Neither team scored for the first four and a half innings, although the Bobcats threatened multiple times. The Bobcats loaded the bases with two outs in the second inning thanks to singles from Russo and McNulty, along with first-year Emily Samar (New York, N.Y.) getting hit by a pitch. Duncan got out of the jam thanks to a ground out to short.

Sophomore Mary Collette (Watertown, Conn.) doubled to lead off the fourth and two outs later McNulty drew a walk. But a ground out to third ended the frame.

In the top of the fifth, first-year Kennedy Ishii (Honolulu, Hawaii) led off with an infield single. Sophomore Caroline Bass (Newton, Mass.) bunted her to second base. After the next batter fouled out, first-year Janell Sato (Honolulu, Hawaii) drew a walk. Duncan got out of the jam when she got the next batter to pop out.

The Bobcats left eight runners on base while the Ephs stranded six runners.  

McNulty went 2-2 at the plate with a home run, a run scored, two runs batted in and a walk to pace the Bates offense. Gabi Medvene-Cirigliano led the way for Williams, going 2-3 with a run scored and an RBI. Casey Pelz finished 1-3 with two RBIs and Mara Kipnis went 1-2 with a run scored, a double and a walk.