Softball Splits Doubleheader Against Bucknell

In its 2006 Patriot League opener, the Raider softball team split a four-game series with Bucknell last weekend. Led by senior ace Kate Howard, the Raiders won the first game of each doubleheader, while the Bison took both nightcaps.

Howard was dominant in Saturday’s first game, scattering four hits en route to a 2-0 complete-game blanking, her 14th career shutout.

With Howard on the mound, Colgate scored its two runs in the first inning and didn’t look back. With one out, senior Kim Olmstead singled and advanced to third base on sophomore Whitney Scott’s double to right field. First-year Ashley Rowe then delivered a clutch two-run single that ultimately proved to be the game-winner. Classmate Calla Yee went 2-for-3 in the game for the Raiders, the only player on either team to record more than one hit.

In Saturday’s second game, Bucknell jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning before holding on to win, 6-4. Lauren Litts got the big hit, a grand slam off Howard, who was then replaced by Rowe without having record an out.

Colgate did not go away quietly, however. To start, sophomore Jessi Bentovoja hit into a fielder’s choice in the fourth inning to score Rowe. In the fifth, Rowe drove in Olmstead and Scott with a single, her second of three hits on the day. First-year Vicky Ortengren following with an RBI single of her own to score Rowe. In the seventh inning, Colgate loaded the bases with two outs after singles by Rowe and Ortengren and a walk to senior Erin Hanna, but Bucknell reliever Katie McDonald induced first-year pinch-hitter Tiana Tyeskey to foul out to the catcher to end the game.

Howard got the call once again for Sunday’s opener, and she delivered another gem, a 5-1 win. The Wheaton, IL, native struck out eight and yielded five hits and one run, which came on a solo home run by Kris Devore in the seventh inning. Howard’s third punch-out of the game was the 300th strikeout of her Colgate career.

Colgate opened the scoring in the second inning. With first-year Meg Mylan at the plate, Bison hurler Meg Muirhead uncorked a wild pitch, which scored first-year Kortney Hannah. In the fourth inning, Hannah scored again on an RBI single from Mylan. The duo struck again in the sixth inning, as a Mylan ground out drove in Hannah. Bentovoja later scored on a wild pitch and Scott delivered an RBI single to round out the scoring.

In the series’ final game, Bucknell took a 4-0 lead in the second inning off Rowe, who was then replaced by junior hurler Kelsey Nordstrom. This marked Nordstrom’s return from injury, which kept her out of action over the last few weeks. The results were encouraging, as the junior pitched two and two-thirds innings of hitless ball, striking out two and walking one. Head Coach Vickie Sax for one was thrilled to see Nordstrom get back on the mound.

“Our team is a pitcher’s dream: we play solid defense and score runs,” she said. “Our season will come down to the mileage we get from the mound. Kate Howard has been great, but she cannot carry the entire team on her back every game.”

The Raiders came back from the early deficit to take a 6-4 lead. Sophomore LaPorscha Albert scored on a throwing error in the third inning, while Mylan scored on a dropped fly ball in the fifth. An inning later, Scott hit a three-run double to give Colgate the lead and later scored on another Bucknell error.

In bottom of the seventh, however, Bucknell rallied. Ashley Carlson began the rally with a one-out single. After Howard, who replaced Nortstrom to start the fifth inning, induced a pop-up from Devore, Lauren Litts walked and Lauren Wilbe hit a walk-off three-run homer to give a Bucknell 7-6 victory.

Although Yee went hitless in Sunday’s second game, the outfielder won Patriot League Rookie of the Week honors. Yee hit .615 on 8-13 at the plate in extending Colgate’s streak of consecutive Rookie of the Weeks to five. Yee is the third Raider to receive such honors, joining Rowe (three times) and Hannah.

Off the field, Hanna was named a finalist for the NCAA’s Walter Byers postgraduate scholarship. She will interview with a committee in Boston later this month, after which the winner will be named. The eventual winner receives $21,500 for two years to attend graduate school.

Hanna, who has the highest GPA of any senior student-athlete at Colgate, said that she plans to attend law school this fall. According to the senior, such an award would be very important for her.

“Receiving this award could very well determine the direction that my study of law takes,” Hanna said. I’m interested in public international law, but when deciding on a career I will have to consider my financial obligations. Jobs in the public sector do not come with the impressive salaries found in the private sector and law school is expensive.If I were to be selected for this award I would be much less constrained by student loan debt in selecting a career.

“This is an acknowledgment of the hard work I’ve dedicated to meeting the double responsibility that every student-athlete faces: succeeding on the field and in the classroom.”

After Wednesday’s doubleheader with Binghamton was postponed due to inclement weather, the Raiders remain 9-12 on the season. The Raiders will try again to open their home schedule on Sunday with the first of consecutive doubleheaders against Army.