Softball: Chasse powers Suffolk to sweep of Norwich
NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich University softball team simply had no match for Suffolk University freshman Sarah Chasse on Sunday afternoon.
Chasse torched the Cadets all afternoon on the mound and at the plate as the standout rookie racked up 20 strikeouts in 10 innings pitched while surrendering just one run on six hits. She earned a win and a save on the mound.
Chasse was just as deadly at the plate producing the game-winning two-RBI single in the top of the seventh in Game 1 to lift the Rams to a 3-1 win. She also scored the eventual game-winning run en route to a 5-0 shutout win in Game 2 with smart baserunning.
Chasse sliced a hard ground ball over the first base bag with two outs in the top of the seventh that allowed two runs to score and broke a 1-1 tie to lift Suffolk (16-20, 9-13 GNAC) to the victory in Game 1. She also recorded 14 strikeouts while firing a complete game five-hitter on the mound.
Chasse methodically worked her way through the Norwich (15-13, 10-10 GNAC) batting order the first time through striking out seven of the first nine hitters to come to the plate. However, the Cadets finally started to solve the freshman flamethrower, starting with sophomore Erin Clark (Bradford, Vt.) breaking up Chasse's perfect game in the bottom of the fourth.
NU took it a step further in the bottom of the fifth inning when freshman infielder Melissa Rome (Enfield, Conn.) singled home Elizabeth Boynton (Durham, Maine) who pinch ran for sophomore Briana Day (Yelm, Wash.) after she led off with a single to start the inning.
However, Norwich's 1-0 lead was short lived as Suffolk's Erin McAndrews blasted a towering solo home run to knot the game back up at one with her first of the season.
Sophomore pitcher Kaylie Miller (Long Lake, N.Y.) was the tough luck loser for Norwich after she matched Chasse inning for inning on the mound until it slowly unraveled for her in the top of the seventh. Miller went 6 and 2/3rds innings while surrendering one earned run on six hits, striking out three and walking two.
Norwich had a chance to escape the frame with the score still tied, but Kelly Daniel's hot shot glanced off the heel of the Norwich shortstop's glove to keep the inning alive and allow for Chasse's heroics to take over.
In Game 2, Chasse broke a scoreless tie by manufacturing a run with heads up base running. Chasse and Nicole Rosa executed a double steal that allowed Chasse to score after Rosa drew a throw from Norwich catcher Abby Belcher (Winthrop, Mass) at second base.
Julianna Riconda put Suffolk up 2-0 after an errant throw from Clark at first base sailed into the outfield and allowed Riconda to scamper home for the Rams' second run.
Norwich had its best chance to cut into the deficit in the bottom of the fifth after Belcher and Clark led off the inning with back-to-back singles on Suffolk starting pitcher Alicia Gonnella. However, the Rams' head coach Keri Lemasters pulled Gonnella in favor of bringing back Chasse.
Chasse threw a wild pitch and allowed the runners to advance to second and third with no outs. But, Chasse shook off the rust from there and found her groove again from Game 1. She struck out the Cadets' hottest hitter Kelly Travers (Whitman, Mass.), got junior Noel Byers (Iron Mountain, Mich.) to pop out, before striking out Day to end the threat and strand the two runners.
Suffolk added three more runs in the top of the sixth inning to pull away for good and build a 5-0 lead.
Norwich threatened again in the bottom of the seventh inning by loading up the bases, however Chasse closed the door once again by getting Miller to ground out to second to end the game.
Freshman pitcher Corinne Baita (Rochester, N.H.) was saddled with her first loss in her last four starts after going the distance and giving up three earned runs on six hits while striking out four.
Gonnella still earned the win for Suffolk and Chasse picked up the save for the Rams to complete her memorable day.
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