MIDDLEBURY, VT. – Sophomore Mackenzie Murphy hit a three-run home run and first year Rebecca Duncan escaped from a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the botom sixth inning of Saturday's second game to propel the Williams College softball team to a 3-1 win and a sweep of a doubleheader.
The two wins allowed the Ephs to clinch the NESCAC West Division title with ony a make-up game at Wesleyan Sunday at 1 p.m. left on the 2017 conference slate. Williams improved to 27-10 overall and 10-1 in the West. It is the fourth consecutive division title for the Ephs.
The Panthers finish their season with a 17-14-1 record.
In the nightcap, Middlebury jumped out early advantage with a run in the bottom of the second. Hye-Jin Kim drew a one-out walk, moved to second on a passed ball and scored on a double down the left-field line by Siobhan O'Sullivan.
The Ephs took the lead for good in third. Kristina Alvarado smacked a one-out single through the left side. She moved to second on a base hit to left-center field by Jessica Kim and scored on Murphy's home run to left center, her seventh round-tripper of the season.
In the sixth, the Panthers threatened when they loaded the bases with no outs via back-to-back-to-back singles from Giles, Gardner and Olivia Bravo. Eph reliever Rebecca Duncan worked out of the jam without allowing a run on a pair of strikeouts and a groundout.
Eph senior Brooke Bovier (3-0) picked up the win for the Ephs, giving up just one unearned run on eight hits while striking out three over five frames. Duncan recorded the final six outs, including four on strikeouts, for her second save of the spring. Murphy went 2-3 with a homer and three RBI for the visitors, while four other Ephs produced hits in the nightcap.
Allison Quigley (8-9) took the loss for the hosts, allowing three runs on six hits with four strikeouts over seven innings for her 13th complete game of the season. Marybeth Stone went 3-3 at the plate in the nightcap, while O'Sullivan was 2-3 with a double and RBI. Bravo also had a 2-3 contest with a double for the hosts.
In the opener, the Ephs grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Margo Beck singled up the middle, scoring Jessica Kim and Murphy. The Panthers cut the advantage in half during the home half of the frame when Erin Giles singled down the left-field line, driving in Taylor Gardner, who walked to start the inning.
Williams tacked on an unearned run in the third and two more tallies in the fourth, highlighted by a triple off the right-field fence by Lexi Curt, for a 5-1 edge. Curt came around to score on the play when the relay throw was not handled. Neither team scored over the final three innings.
Irene Margiotta (7-5) suffered the loss, allowing five runs (two earned) on eight hits over seven innings for her 10th complete game this season. Melanie Mandell went 2-3 at the plate, while Giles was 1-3 with an RBI.
Murphy (9-4) picked up the win, giving up just one run on five hits with three strikeouts over the first five innings. Emma Corbett tossed two scoreless innings in relief. Curt went 2-4 with a double and a triple for the Ephs, while Beck drove in a pair of runs.
With her double in the second game, Curt broke the all-time mark at Williams with her 33rd career two-bagger, snapping a tie with Laura Brenneman '99.