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Bulldogs open NEC play with doubleheader split at Mount St. Mary's

Photo by: Tom O'Brien
Photo by: Tom O'Brien

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The Bryant University softball team split its Northeast Conference opener vs. Mount St. Mary's taking Game 1, 13-0, before dropping the second leg of the doubleheader, 6-5, Saturday afternoon in Emmitsburg, Md.

GAME 1

Behind a four-hit shutout from junior pitcher Elle Madsen (Wheat Ridge, Colo.), the Bulldogs (8-18, 1-1 Northeast Conference) took care of the Mountaineers (6-17, 1-1 NEC), 13-0, in the first leg of Saturday's double dip.

Madsen, who has been nothing short of outstanding in the circle this season, allowed only four hits and a walk on her way to a five-inning shutout victory, her fifth on the season. At the dish, seven different Bulldogs drove in runs, led by four from junior third baseman Hayley Bottino (Canyon Country, Calif.), who along with classmate Liana Ogata (Tustin, Calif.), registered a game-high three hits in the contest.

From the get-go it was all Bryant as an Ogata leadoff walk in the top of the first set up senior Madeline Velasquez (Los Angeles, Calif.) for a RBI single up the middle. After a Madsen base knock, Bottino tripled to left field, driving in two to make it 3-0 in favor of the Black and Gold. Before the inning was over, Bottino helped the Bulldogs to a 4-0 edge thanks to some nifty baserunning, stealing home on a Rachel Monroe (Southwick, Mass.) walk.

The Black and Gold added four more in the second inning highlighted by a two-run single from freshman catcher Cassie Mejia (Tucson, Ariz.) and two more in the top of the third inning behind back-to-back hits from Madsen and Bottino.

The Bulldogs capped off the offense outburst with three runs in the fourth thanks to a pair of doubles from sophomore outfielder Haylee Haas (Moorpark, Calif.) and Velasquez.

Madsen handled the rest for Bryant, mowing down Moutaineers and not allowing more than two hits in a single inning.

GAME 2

In the second leg on Saturday's DH, four runs in the bottom of the first inning helped the Mountaineers to a narrow 6-5 victory despite two homers from sophomore outfielder Taylor Burger (Killingworth, Conn.).

Burger accounted for four of Bryant's five runs, registering a pair of blasts, a solo shot in the second and three-run bomb in the fourth, however a balanced Mount attack helped the hosts to a Game 2 victory.

Finding themselves down 4-0 after one, Bryant recouped a pair in the form of solo homers from Bottino and Burger to make it 4-2 Mount St. Mary's after two innings. The Mount tacked on another run in the third thanks to a Marisa Mayes single before Burger's three-run blast in the fourth knotted the score, 5-5.

In the bottom of the fifth, Rachel Gavigan laced a double down the left field line to drive in Rachel Heinze for the eventual game-winning run.

In the circle, Madsen allowed six runs (four earned) on 11 hits in six innings of work, while Danni Cummings allowed five runs on eight hits and a walk in a seven-inning victory.

Looking ahead, Bryant will battle Boston College on Sunday at 6 p.m. at Plymouth North High School.