CLERMONT, Fla. – Senior left fielder Shannon Connor (West Haven, Conn./West Haven HS) and freshman second baseman/extra hitter Catie Noons (North Dighton, Mass./Dighton-Rehoboth HS) combined for seven hits and eight RBI as the Bentley University softball team completed its annual trip to the National Training Center with a pair of 6-5 victories, over the University of Bridgeport and Mercy College.
In both games, the Falcons had to hold off a late challenge with sophomore Carinn Burns (Kennebunk, Maine/Kennebunk HS) saving the opener and junior lefty Kelly Ferris (Seymour, Conn./ Seymour HS) doing the same in game two.
Against Bridgeport, after the Purple Knights (1-2) picked up a run in the top of the first, Connor drew a walk and Noons followed with a two-run homer to left, her first round-tripper of her career.
Connor and Noons were both involved in the Falcons' four-run third after a passed ball with a runner on third allowed the Purple Knights to tie the game at 2-2. Connor hit a two-run double to center and she scored on Noons' fifth extra base hit in two games, a double to left. Later in the inning, junior first baseman Morgan Mazone (Selkirk, N.Y./Bethlehem Central HS) singled in the Falcons' sixth run of the game.
Another passed ball with a runner on third gave Bridgeport its third run in the fourth and it stayed that way until the seventh.
After two singles and a walk filled the bases, consecutive bases-loaded walks cut the Falcon margin to 6-5. However, Burns picked up a game-ending strikeout to lock up the win with Bridgeport leaving multiple runners on base for the fifth time in the contest.
Connor, Bentley's leading hitter with a .400 average, finished 2-for-2 with two runs and two RBI while Noons was 2-for-3 with three RBI.
Sophomore Kelsey Smith (Jaffrey, N.H./Conant HS) earned the win despite struggling with her control (six walks, three hit batters) in 6.2 innings.
Against Mercy, Bentley jumped out to a 4-0 lead with three in the first and another in the third. Noons and junior shortstop Alex Borrelli (Salem, N.H./Central Catholic HS) each had a sacrifice fly in the first and Connor provided an RBI single in the third.
After the Mavericks closed to within one at 4-3, Bentley added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh. Freshman pinch-runner Jordan Ballantyne (Hopewell Junction, N.Y./Arlington HS) scored on an era and Connor had another RBI single.
Those proved to be needed as Mercy scored twice in the top of the seventh before Ferris could nail down the final out. She pitched the final two innings after sophomore lefty Michelle DeVito (Bay Shore, N.Y./Bay Shore HS) handed the first five.
Bentley's seven hits included two apiece by Connor and sophomore center fielder Kelsey Kennedy (Bedford, N.H./Bedford HS).
Bentley finished its Florida trip with a 3-6 record.