QUEENSBURY, N.Y. (information taken from a Castleton State press release)-- The Brandeis softball team opened its 2013 season with a sweep of Castleton State College today at the Adirondack Complex in Queensbury, N.Y. The Judges blanked the Spartans twice, 8-0 and 1-0, behind the bat of rookie left fielder Danielle Novotny (Milford, N.J./Delaware Valley) and the arm of sophomore Nikki Cote (Shelton, Conn./St. Joseph's). Brandeis is 2-0 on the young season, while Castleton State is 0-2.
Novotny was impressive in her collegiate debut, going 6-for-8 with two RBI, two runs scored, a double and a triple in the two contests. Cote factored in both games in the circle, earning her first collegiate win and save on the same day. She tossed a six-inning complete-game four-hitter in the opener with 10 strikeouts in the opener and came on in the second game to retire six of the eight hitters she faced for a two-inning save.
In the first contest, Brandeis and Castleton State were scoreless through four innings. The Judges threatened in the bottom of the third when they put two runners on, while a two-out double by Ruby Bushey in the top of the fourth for the Spartans gave CSC its first chance, but neither squad was able to capitalize.
Brandeis got on the board with a four-run inning in the bottom of the fifth on three hits and two costly errors from the Spartan defense. Rookie 2B Madison Gagnon (Westlake Village, Calif. / Westlake) started the rally with a one-out single to left field. Novotny advanced the runner and reached first on a swinging bunt that spun back to the mound. Sophomore CF Anya Kamber (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline) reached on a throwing error and two runs scored on an errant throw from first to third. Kamber came home on rookie SS Madison Sullivan's (Dover, N.H./Dover) RBI groundout, and junior 1B Melissa Nolan (Windsor, Conn./Loomis Chafee) capped the scoring with a solo bomb over the left-center field fence, the fifth home run of her career.
In the top of the sixth, the Spartans did their best to mount a two-out rally. Catcher Brittany Brayman bounced a single up the middle and advanced to third on a bunt by 3B Jessica Babcock. Babcock advanced to second on the throw. However, with two down and runners in scoring position, Cote fanned Bushey swinging to end the threat.
The Judges ended the game early in the sixth inning with another four-run frame. Big blows in the inning were an RBI double by sophomore RF Amanda Genovese (North Haven, Conn./North Haven), an RBI triple by Novotny and a squeeze single by Kamber that ended the contest.
In the nightcap, the only run of the game came two batters in. Genovese singled to lead off the contest. She stole second and scored on Novotny's second extra-base hit of the afternoon, a double. Novotny finished the second game with half of the Judges' hits, going 3-for-4.
Staked the early lead, Nolan and Cote took over in the circle. Nolan tossed five innings of two-hit ball, striking out five and walking two. Cote pitched the sixth and seventh for the save.
CSC's best scoring chance came in the second inning, when Brayman walked and Babcock struck a one-out double, but Nolan induced a comebacker to the circle and a strikeout to end the threat.
Brandeis will play two more games at the Adirondack Sport tomorrow evening against Union College.