Maggie Lebinski of Tufts crosses the plate to score the winning run for the Jumbos during the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against Bates College in Lewiston. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

LEWISTON — Bates College couldn’t capitalize on its chances and dropped a NESCAC softball doubleheader to Tufts by scores of 1-0 and 7-0 on Saturday.

Bates’ Kirsten Pelletier and Tufts’ Kirsti Van Meter squared off in a pitchers’ duel in the opener. Both went the full seven innings and neither allowed a run until the sixth inning.

The Jumbos finally broke through in the top of the sixth.

Maggie Lebinski led off with a single that she tried to stretch into a double. She thought better of it halfway in between first base and second base, but got caught in a rundown on her way back to first. After a few back-and-forth throws by the Bobcats, Lebinski was able to slide safely back into first.

Lebinski advanced to second when Raven Fournier drew a walk, then Christian Cain advanced both runners with a sacrifice fly to deep left field. Jamie Stevens then brought Lebinski home for the game’s only run with a groundout to pitcher.

“The run that they scored, we were in that rundown situation, and that was the difference in the game,” Bates coach McKell Barnes said. “Good teams, when you give extra plays like that to them, they take advantage of that.”

In the bottom of the seventh, Pelletier reached with a one-out single and moved into scoring position on Caroline Bass’ sacrifice bunt. Andrea Russo followed with an infield single to put runners at first and third with two outs, but Julia Panepinto struck out to end the threat and the game.

The Bobcats also stranded two in fifth and left the bases loaded in the first inning.

“You have to score run in the game, and I thought we left some runs on the board,” Barnes said. “We didn’t have the timely hit.”

Van Meter’s game-ending strikeout was her eighth of the game. She allowed six hits and walked three. She entered the game with an 0.84 ERA that dropped to 0.74 after Saturday’s win, which gives the freshman a 7-2 record.

“Kristi started the first game a little bit rough,” Tufts coach Cheryl Milligan said. “She was struggling with the mound a little bit, but I thought she settled in really well.”

Pelletier allowed five hits and walked two while striking out three batters.

She also had two of Bates’ six hits. Russo also had two, while Bass singled and Tori Fitzgerald doubled.

“The first game we played strong,” Pelletier said. “I think it’s hard to win games when you don’t produce offense, but Tufts has some tough pitching.”

Jumbos get going in second game

Bates (10-8, 0-5 NESCAC) stuck with Pelletier in the second game. She and Tufts’ starter Kristina Haghdan cruised through the first two innings without allowing a hit and combining to strike out seven batters (three by Pelletier, four by Haghdan).

Tufts’ Emily Serata reached on an error by Pelletier to lead off the third. She stole second and went to third on Sara Willner-Giwerc’s sacrifice bunt.

Emma Della Volpe hit a grounder to the left side of the infield. The throw to third to hold Serata was dropped and rolled far enough to allow her to run home and give the Jumbos a 1-0 lead with one out.

Pelletier (5-5) shut down that threat, but Tufts (15-5, 4-1) added three more runs in the fourth, including a two-run double by Sarah Finnigan that bounced Pelletier with no outs.

“Pelletier’s always tough to get on,” Milligan said. “She maybe got tired. We’re trying to think she didn’t get tired, we just got better, but she probably, maybe just got a little tired.”

Payton Buxton relieved Pelletier and got three straight outs.

In the sixth inning, Willner-Giwerc hit a three-run homer that made it 7-0.

“Payton, I thought threw pretty well,” Barnes said. “Heck, the girl that hit the three-run homer, that was really good rise ball. She’s like, ‘I thought I (threw) a pretty good pitch.’ And I’m like, ‘You did, but she had a pretty good hit.’”

Bates’ only hit of the second game was a single by Russo in the fourth inning.

Haghdan (5-3) struck out 11 and didn’t allow a walk.

“Kristina was throwing a pretty good ball today,” Milligan said. “She had a good day.”

Andrea Russo of Bates College heads to first base after hitting a single during the first inning against Tufts in Lewiston on Saturday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Jamie Stevens of Tufts dives for a Bates College bunt during the first game of Saturday’s double header in Lewiston. Stevens missed making the catch. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Bates College pitcher Kirsten Pelletier makes a play on a fly ball during the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against Tufts in Lewiston. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Tori Fitzgerald of Bates College makes contact for a double during the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against Tufts in Lewiston.  (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

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