CLERMONT, Fla. – The Carleton College softball team opened its spring break visit to the Sunshine State by splitting a pair of one-run games. The Knights defeated Millikin University, 1-0, in the opener before falling to University of Southern Maine by a 6-5 tally.
In game one, Sam Kile (Elk Grove, Calif./Consumnes Oaks) delivered with her arm and the bat. The sophomore tossed a two-hit shutout with eight strikeouts. She knocked home the game’s lone run with an RBI double in the bottom of the fifth inning.
The Carleton defense made a trio of big plays in support of Kile. Catcher Natalie Maurice (Fy./Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie) nabbed two would-be basesteallers, and Ari Zuaro (Jr./Scotch Plain, N.J./Scotch Plains-Fanwood) threw out a runner at the plate in the fourth. After the outfield assist, Kile shut the door by retiring the final 10 Millikin batters.
In the day’s second game, the Knights (5-1) saw their season-opening win streak snapped, Carleton fell behind 5-0 before mounting a comeback and getting both the tying and go-ahead runs into scoring position in the final frame.
Southern Maine (1-1) scored a run in the bottom of the first then pushed across four more tallies the following inning.
Carleton relief pitchers Sarah Ogle (So./San Diego, Calif./Francis Parker School) and Kile combined on 4.2 innings of one-run ball, allowing the offense to awaken.
The Knights strung together RBI hits from Katie Eppard (Jr./Pleasanton, Calif./Amador Valley), Kile, and Mia Orans (Sr./San Francisco, Calif./Piedmont) during the three-run fourth inning. After Millikin got one of those runs back in the bottom of the fifth, Carleton scratched out two more tallies without the benefit of a hit in the sixth.
With the Knights still trailing 6-5 in the seventh, Anna Lauko (So./Whitefish Bay, Wis./Whitefish Bay) and Corrie Lucchesi (Jr./Chicago, Ill./Lane Tech) had back-to-back one-out singles, but the Carleton could not come up with another clutch hit to tie the contest.
The Knights will next play on Monday, March 20 when Carleton faces Elmhurst College and University of Northwestern Ohio.