Softball: Norwich sweeps NVU-Johnson in home opener DH

Brittany Vandergroef softball action (Chandler Mosher)
Chandler Mosher '20

NORTHFIELD, Vt.  – The Norwich University softball team made its 2019 home debut in impressive fashion, pounding out 28 hits and 34 runs en route to a non-conference doubleheader sweep of Northern Vermont University at Johnson on Wednesday afternoon on Sabine Field at Haynes Family Stadium. 

Norwich (6-6, 0-0 GNAC North) leveled its record to .500 on the season and stretched its winning streak to four straight games with the sweep. 

Sophomore Brittany Vandergroef (Lodi, N.J.) had an impressive day at the plate and in the circle, going 3-for-7 with four RBIs and four runs scored as well as firing a complete-game, two-hitter to pick up the Game 1 victory. 

Vandergroef overpowered the NVU-Johnson (1-11, 0-0 NAC) lineup, registering 10 strikeouts, including striking out the side in the top of the fifth inning to cruise to her first collegiate pitching victory. 

Seven different hitters recorded at least one hit in Game 1, led by junior Katie Reid's (Gold Canyon, Ariz.) 2-for-3 effort with two RBIs. Seniors Emily Oliver (Sagamore Hills, Ohio) and Madison Miller (Patterson, Ga.), as well as Vandergroef notched RBI hits in the victory. 

Norwich sprinted out to a 3-0 lead after the first inning and then tacked on a run in the second and two more in the third to pull away early for the victory. 

Emily Marshall had a RBI double to lead the Badgers' offense and also took the loss in the circle.

Norwich led a blitzkrieg offense in Game 2, scoring eight runs in the bottom of the first and then 11 more in the second inning, before finally capping their offensive explosion with seven more in the third inning to score a season-high 26 runs en route to a 26-4 win in the nightcap. 

Senior Naomi Rinaldo (Middlefield, Conn.) went 2-for-4 with four RBIs, including a three-run home run in the third inning for the sixth of her storied Cadet career. Oliver also reached the 100-career-hit milestone in her first at-bat of Game 2 with a single down the left field line. Rinaldo now has 79 RBIs in her career to rank eighth all-time in program history. 

Reid went 3-for-5 in the second game with two RBIs and three runs scored, while freshman Dara Kelly (Chesterfield, N.J.) continued her impressive rookie campaign with a 3-for-4 effort to go along with two RBIs and two runs scored. 

Oliver and Vandergroef each had four runs scored to lead the Cadets' run leaders. Freshman Lindsey Gordon (Wiscasset, Maine) and Maggie Rasmussen (Kingston, N.H.) each tallied hits. Sophomore Elizabeth Niven (Londonderry, N.H.) had two hits in relief of Miller with a RBI as well. 

Freshman Sydney Parkhurst (Barrington, R.I) had a hit and two runs scored, while junior Kaylee Blanchard (Worcester, Mass.) had a single and three RBIs.   

In the circle, Oliver picked up her fifth win of the season, going three innings without allowing a hit. Freshman Adele Cousland (Shutesbury, Mass.) came on in relief and pitching the final two innings, giving up one earned run on two hits.   

The second game was sloppy from both teams with 10 total errors and 24 unearned runs. 

Norwich will look to carry the offensive momentum into its first two league doubleheaders of the season when it travels to Anna Maria on Saturday for a noon and 2 p.m. start in Paxton, Mass. The Cadets will then return home to Sabine Field to host St. Joseph's (Maine) on the turf again on Sunday at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.