WILLIAMSTOWN, MA — Senior Lexi Curt scored all the way from first on a two-out error in the bottom of the seventh, giving the Williams College softball team a thrilling 6-5 victory and a Senior Day sweep of conference foe Bowdoin, 3-1 and 6-5, at Cole Field Sunday.
The Polar Bears slipped to 27-11 overall. Williams, winners off 11 straight games, completed its regular season at 32-6 and will next face an undetermined foe in the quarterfinal round of the NESCAC Tournament Saturday in Amherst. The 32 wins are the most regular-season victories in school history. Already the winningest class in program history, the senior group of Curt, Margo Beck and Brenna Martinez saw their four-year mark at the school improve to 137-39, a .778 winning percentage.
In the Ephs' seventh, Bowdoin brought in Kate Hoadley, who had started game one, to start the inning from the circle. She retired the first two Ephs she faced before walking Curt on five pitches. Sophomore Rebecca Duncan then ripped a deep liner to left which was dropped. Curt, running all the way, slid safely into home with the winning run as the relay throw hit her hand.
Bowdoin had taken a 3-0 lead in the top of the first after Eph starter Mackenzie Murphy retired the first two batters she faced. Five straight Bowdoin hits brought in the three runs. Allison Rutz doubled home Caroline Rice with the first run, Natalie Edwards singled home a run and Samantha Valdivia beat out a slow roller in the shortstop hole for a single that scored Edwards.
Williams cut into the lead in its half of the second when Beck led off with a single and Kirstin Mapes followed with a line drive home run to right center that made it 3-2. For Mapes, it was her 10th home run of the season and her 39th and 40th RBI. She became only the fourth Williams player to reach 10 home runs in a single season and just the fifth to reach 40 RBI in a single season, following Curt, who reached that milestone Saturday.
Bowdoin extended its lead to two runs with a tally in the fifth when Jordan Gowdey led off with a single, stole second, and scored on a two-out single by Claire McCarthy. The Ephs responded with three runs in its half of the fifth to take a 5-4 lead. With two outs, Curt singled to left and took second on a throwing error. Duncan followed with a moonshot to center that just cleared the fence for a game-tying two run homer. Beck followed with a long homer to right center that gave the Ephs a one-run advantage.
The Polar Bears bounced back to tie the game in its half of the sixth when Ali Miller drove a ball that hit off the top of the fence in center field. Valdivia scored on the play, but an Ephs relay cut down Miller at first to help thwart a bigger rally.
McCarthy. Edwards and Miller were each 2 for 3 with an RBI for Bowdoin, which had 11 hits. Curt and Beck were both 2 for 3 for the Ephs. Murphy improved to 13-1 on the season, pitching a complete game and allowing 11 hits and five runs, all earned, while not walking a batter and striking out two. Samantha Roy threw four innings for the Polar Bears, giving up five hits and two runs. She did not walk a batter and fanned five.
In the opener, all four runs were scored in the first inning. Bowdoin took a 1-0 lead when Rutz singled home Lauren O'Shea, who had singled to center and advanced to second on a single by Rice. The Ephs answered with three runs. Kim got them started when she led off with a double. Murphy singled her home with one out on a line drive to center. Murphy stole second, Mapes walked and Duncan beat out a roller to third to load the bases. With two outs, Martinez sent a shot to right for a two-run double and a 3-1 lead.
The remainder of the game belonged to Hoadley and Duncan. Hoadley went six frames and allowed only five hits. She walked one and did not strikeout a batter. Duncan went the full seven for Williams and improved to 13-3 on the season, giving up eight hits and one earned run while walking one and striking out nine. McCarthy was 2 for 3 for Bowdoin and O'Shea 2 for 4 with a run scored. Five different Ephs had one hit each.