Hartford, Conn. – The Trinity College softball team, coached by Caitlin Hitchcock (15th season), put together its highest win total since the spring of 2011 and returned to the post-season for the second consecutive spring. The Bantams finished the year with an 19-15 overall record and reached the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championship Tournament as the No. 2 seed in the East Division while setting milestones along the way.
The team opened up the season with its annual spring break trip to Florida to play 10 games before traveling back to New England. The Bantams opened up the season with a loss to UMass-Boston in the first game of a doubleheader before crushing Becker, 11-0, for the first of a five game win streak. Trinity left Florida with a 6-4 record after dropping a doubleheader against Framingham State and Clarkson on the final day, but put together an impressive start to the season with conference play looming upon returning to Connecticut. Trinity scored 46 runs in the 10 game stretch and clubbed 18 doubles. Trinity also saw a pair of home runs off the bats of sophomores Courtney Erickson (Everett, Mass.) and Nicole Towner (Erie, Colo.) during its time in the Sunshine State while first-year southpaw Lindsay Golia (North Branford, Conn.) was named as NESCAC Pitcher of the Week upon returning to Connecticut. Golia started her Trinity career with a 4-1 record with a save, 1.35 ERA and 22 strikeouts in seven appearances during the team's trip south.
Trinity fell to inter-divisional opponent Amherst in its first game in New England but went on to sweep a doubleheader against Eastern Connecticut State the following week. Junior captain Rachael Smith (Winchester, Mass.) tossed a four-hitter with 10 K's in the first game against the Warriors and Golia had a five-hit shutout in game two to lead the way.
The Bantams opened up their NESCAC East schedule with a doubleheader split against Bowdoin. In the game one, 7-3 victory, Erickson blasted a two-run homerun off the right field scoreboard in the team's first game at its new field to ignite the four-run win. After dropping a doubleheader against cross-conference, in-state rival Wesleyan, the Bantams hosted Bates in what turned out to be a pivotal divisional showdown.
Trinity swept Bates to improve to 4-1 in the NESCAC East. In the first game of the series, Smith took a no-hitter into the fifth inning and finished with seven strikeouts while junior captain junior Michelle Treglia (Fairfield, Conn.) drove home three runs en route to the 5-2 win. The Bantams swept Saturday's doubleheader against the Bobcats thanks in part to a monster day at the plate by rookie Natalie Bruno (Stratham, N.H.) who went 3-for-7 with three runs, a double, two homeruns and four RBIs on the day to lead the offense.
Trinity dropped the third game of the Bowdoin series which was moved back to April 9th due to rain, but bounced back with a twinbill sweep of Coast Guard, followed by a historic series sweep of Tufts to cap off another five game win streak. The Bantams handed the Jumbos their first divisional loss in 65 games, dating back to 2011, with a 6-3 victory in the first game of the series on April 14. Golia held Tufts' offense to zero runs as she picked up her eighth win of the year in the circle while junior Katie Haghdan (Pelham, N.H.) carried the offense with four RBIs on a perfect 3-for-3 day at the dish. In Saturday's doubleheader, Treglia clubbed her first career homerun to lead Trinity to a 6-5 win in game one while Towner drove in three runs in game two's 6-3 win to make Trinity the first ever NESCAC team to sweep the Jumbos.
After a loss to Western Connecticut state and doubleheader split against NESCAC West foe Hamilton, Trinity needed at least one win in the final divisional series of the year, at Colby, to earn the right to advance to the NESCAC Tournament. The Bantams did so in the first game of the series, a 1-0 victory. Golia threw a four-hit shutout while junior Erica Merullo (Lynnfield, Mass.) led off the game with a single and scored the lone run to lift Trinity into the post-season, despite dropping the series.
Trinity squared off against Williams College in game one of the NESCAC Championship Tournament and dropped a 3-2, eight inning heartbreaker to the Ephs. The Bantams broke ahead for the game's first lead in the top of the second on a sacrifice fly by senior captain Victoria Baez (Tuckahoe, N.Y.). Trinity held a 1-0 lead until the fifth inning when Williams jumped ahead to a 2-1 lead thanks to a pair of home runs, but Towner responded with a solo shot of her own in the sixth to tie the game back up at 2-2. The Bantams loaded the bases in the top of the eighth but were unable to produce a run before the Ephs won the game on a two-out, run-scoring double in the home-half of the eighth. Trinity's season came to an end via a 9-3 loss the following day to Bowdoin which knocked them out of the tournament.
Trinity had nine players hit .280 or better this year and nine players who had on base percentages of .360 or better. Junior captain Meaghan Race (Grand Rapids, Mich.) had another impressive season, hitting .307 with seven doubles and 17 runs scored. Bruno and classmate Nikki Andersen (Dunbarton, N.H.) made immediate impacts as rookies with Bruno finishing second on the team with a .459 slugging percentage to go along with 22 RBIs, eight doubles and three homers, and Andersen slashing .300/.412/.388 and scoring 12 times. Merullo also finished tied for fifth in the NESCAC with 10 stolen bases and led the squad with 30 runs scored.
Hitchcock earned NESCAC Coach of the Year honors for the second-straight season after guiding the Bantams to their second consecutive NESCAC Championship Tournament. The Bantams scored the fourth-most runs in program history (180), drove in the third-most runs (161), set a new program record with 59 doubles, while leading the league in walks.
Golia was named to the All-NESCAC First Team after leading the Bantams in ERA (2.57), wins (11-8), appearances (26), starts (18), complete games (11), shutouts (6), saves (3), and innings pitched (117.1). Treglia landed on the All-NESCAC Second Team after committing just seven errors in 167 chances for a .960 fielding percentage and also leading Trinity in batting average (.342), at-bats (114), hits (39), and triples (2) to go with 24 runs, six doubles, one home run, 22 RBI, a .456 slugging percentage, 11 walks, and a .400 on-base percentage in 34 games and 33 starts. Erickson also was named to the All-NESCAC Second Team and was the team leader in doubles (12), triples (2), home runs (4), slugging percentage (.583), and on-base percentage (.416) and added 32 hits in 103 at-bats for a .311 batting average, 28 RBI, 14 walks while starting every game at shortstop and committing just seven errors. Towner graced the All-NESCAC Second Team as well after pacing the Trinity offense in triples (2) and RBI (30) while batting .311 (33-for-16) with 33 runs, five doubles, two homers, a .453 slugging percentage, 14 walks, and a .388 on-base percentage in 34 games and 33 starts behind the dish.