FORT MYERS, FLA. – Franklin & Marshall's softball team split a pair of non-conference contests to open its spring break trip on Sunday. The Diplomats (1-3) started the day with a 4-0 loss to Kenyon before picking up their first win of the season in a 3-1 victory over Bridgewater State.
Against Kenyon (8-2), F&M fell behind early when the Ladies crossed the plate in the bottom of the first to take the 1-0 lead. Starting pitcher Kaitlin Zampino held Kenyon scoreless over the next three innings to keep the deficit at one, but the Diplomats' offense struggled to provide run support for the junior right-hander.
Still down by a score of 1-0 in the top of the fourth, F&M threatened when singles by Sam DeNoville, Rachel Laufer and Malorie Sassaman loaded the bases with two outs. However, the Diplomats failed to send any of the runners home and closed out the frame still trailing by one.
The Ladies broke the game open in the bottom of the fifth with three runs on two hits and a pair of costly errors from the F&M infield. Pitcher Emily Prehoda preserved the shutout for Kenyon, holding the Diplomats off the board in final two innings.
Zampino (0-2) gave a solid performance but was charged with the loss, going six innings without allowing an earned run and fanning four batters. F&M outhit the Ladies 8-6 on the contest but left 10 runners on base.
Laufer paced the offense with a 2-for-3 day. Leadoff hitter Danielle Murphy also reached base twice with a pair of singles, finishing with a 2-for-4 showing at the plate.
Later in the day against Bridgewater (1-1), the Diplomats found themselves in an early 1-0 hole when the Bears loaded the bases in the top of the first. A trio of Bridgewater runners took off from the basepads, swiping second, third and home plate to take the one-run advantage.
F&M quickly answered in the bottom of the second to knot the contest at one. Laufer kicked off the inning by reaching first off of a Bridgewater error and advanced to second with a sacrifice bunt from Nicole Casey.
With runners on first and second, Caitlin Brust stepped to the plate and ripped a single through the ride side to score Laufer.
The game remained tied until DeNoville came to the plate in the bottom of the fifth and smashed a two-run homer to right field, putting the Diplomats up 3-1.
Sassaman reached base with a single through the left side of the infield before DeNoville got F&M on the board with her first round-tripper of the season.
Zampino went four innings, allowing one run on two hits and striking out four batters. Justine Lohrey (1-1) relieved her in the top of the fifth and finished out the contest by pitching three scoreless frames. The sophomore right hander earned the win after allowing only two hits and striking out three batters.
Sassaman went a perfect 3-for-3 from the plate with a trio of singles. The Diplomats' offense generated six hits while holding the Bears to only four.
F&M continues its spring break schedule tomorrow with contests against Rockford at 9:00 a.m. and St. Mary's (Ind.) at 11:00 a.m.