Saratoga Springs, NY - Though the Clarkson University Softball team out hit its counterpart in each of the two contests Saturday afternoon, the Golden Knights dropped a pair of games to Skidmore College, 4-1 and 5-4, and were officially eliminated from the Liberty League playoff chase in their first season as an intercollegiate program.
The Golden Knights, 6-24 overall and 2-8 in the Liberty League, were a longshot to make the conference tournament, but a solid weekend would have had the team in place to make the league's top four. Skidmore strengthened its position at 12-16 overall and 6-4, clinching a playoff berth.
In the opener, Skidmore jumped out to a 1-0 lead in its first at bat when Lauren Fortunato led off the game with a single, moved up to second with a steal and then advanced to third on a passed ball. Abby Shea then drove Fotunato home with a single for a 1-0 lead. Fortunato was doubled home by Shea in the third to make the score 2-0, and then Cassie Fishkin delivered a one-out single to plate a pair for a 4-0 edge. Clarkson put together a mini-rally in the top of the fifth inning to end the shutout bid when Morgan Tennyson (Chestertown, NY) opened the frame with a double. Alycia Short (Norfolk, NY) pinch-ran for the catcher and came around on a double by Lou Terwilliger (Putney, VT). That was all of the scoring that the Knights would get in the opener, though. Terwilliger finished 3-for-4, while Jamie Bridge (Plymouth, CT) and Ali Schwenzfeier (East Haddam, CT) each had a pair of hits. For Skidmore, Fortunato, Shea, and Lauren Gorstein combined to go 5-for-9 as the top three hitters in the lineup, but the rest of the team combined to go just 3-for-17.
In game two, the Knights rallied in the first inning to push a run across when Schwenzfeier singled in Katie Pelton (Auburn, NH), who had reached on a fielder's choice. However, that lead was a brief one for Clarkson as Skidmore scored two in the bottom half of the frame. Gorstein tripled home Fortunato and Fishkin helped her own cause with a single to score Gorstein. With two more runs in the third, Skidmore had the same lead that it had in the first game (4-1). In the top of the sixth, though, Clarkson tied the game at 4-4 thanks to a two-out rally. MacKenzie Pelton (Glens Falls, NY) singled and later scored on a passed ball and Short and Bridge delivered back-to-back run-scorong singles to tie the game up. Mackenzie Whiting quickly responded for the Thoroughbreds in the bottom half of the sixth, leading off the frame with a solo home run. That was enough for Skidmore, as Clarkson would be held scoreless in its final at bat.
Terwilliger and Pelton each had two hits, and Jamie Bridge finished off her day with six strikeouts in nine innings after tossing the final three innings of the opener and throwing a complete game in the nightcap. Fortunato, the game-one starter, and Fishkin, the game-two starter, each pitched to contact well, allowing a total of 16 hits in 12 innings with just three walks, while striking out only four combined.