Gators finish doubleheader sweep of Kenyon on senior day


Photo by Emily Rice/The Campus

First-year Isabelle Wakefield catches a pop fly in shallow right field.

The Allegheny softball team capped off a four game series sweep of Kenyon with a 5-4 win in the nightcap of their doubleheader last Saturday, April 24. The Gators also held their senior day ceremonies after their first game of the day to honor the five seniors on the team. The first game of the doubleheader took place the day prior as Kenyon hosted Allegheny.

In game one of the four game set, Tori Vradenburg, ’21, threw a complete game for Allegheny, picking up 11 strikeouts and the 2-1 win as she allowed just one run on six hits. NCAC Player of the Week, right fielder Kelly Lafferty, ’21, went two for three with a double and a walk as well as scoring on a throwing error, while center fielder Paige Ziggas, ’22, went one for three plating the only RBI for the Gators in the victory.

Game two of the series proved to be an offensive battle as the Gators narrowly squeaked by with the win, 18-16. Ashley Vitiello, ’23, got the win as she went 6.2 innings and Vradenburg picked up the save, getting one out after a two out seventh inning rally by Kenyon. Lafferty went four for five, plating four RBIs in the process and Kyleigh Cason, ’21, delivered a two-run homerun to give the Gators their first runs of the game.

“I think our hitting looks a lot better in those games and we’ve been working a lot on our offense,” Lafferty said. “I think our pitching looked very well these last four games and because of that we were able to keep up with the team offensively.”

At home on Saturday, the Gators won game three 9-4 behind a strong pitching performance from Vradenburg, where she threw a complete game with 10 strikeouts while only allowing four hits. Offensively, third baseman Cason and second baseman/pinch hitter Isabelle Wakefield, ’24 provided a spark for Allegheny, combining for three of the Gators seven RBIs as well as five of their 13 hits. Cason also went three for three with a solo homerun in the bottom of the sixth — the final run of the ballgame and Cason’s second home run of the weekend and season.

Allegheny plated eight runs in the second inning and Kenyon could not come back after two late home runs. After the big win and senior day in between games, the Gators looked to carry their momentum into the second game of the day.

Vitiello started the game for the Gators on the mound and threw four innings, giving up four runs on five hits with a strikeout. Lafferty tallied a double and an RBI in a three for four effort.Meanwhile, Wakefield got the start in game two at second base and went three for three. Vradenburg closed the game and picked up the win for Allegheny, hurling the last three frames and allowing just one hit.

“It was special to get those two wins on senior day, but I think it was just great to go out and play,” Vradenburg said. “Definitely, the emotions were very high that day from the beginning and I think we were starting to play for more than just winning.”

Coming off of the series sweep, the Gators softball team suggested that they are looking forward to their final four-game series of the year against The College of Wooster, as they look to test themselves against an opponent they played earlier in the season. Although the first four games against the Fighting Scots ended in losses for the Gators, the team is confident in their preparation for their last matchup.

“The team has been more cohesive than we were before we played Kenyon,” Vrandenburg said. “I think we are more confident going into the next week, especially going into playing Wooster again, we are more sure of ourselves as a team and know what we’re capable of.”

Beyond testing themselves in their final series of the year against a conference opponent, the team is also looking to see just how far the momentum from this sweep of Kenyon can take them as they look towards next season. More underclassmen have been able to get opportunities because of the recent success of the Gators, and this will likely continue for the final series as they look for key contributors for next season’s team.

“I think we’re riding high right now, we’re all very positive and ready to finish out this season,” Lafferty said. “Coming off of those wins I think will help us going into this week.”

The Gators will face off against the Fighting Scots this weekend for their final four games of the season. The series begins on the road at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 1.