When and Where: May 11, 2018 – Manchester, N.H. (South Athletic Fields)
Game One Score: Saint Anselm College 3, Southern New Hampshire University 1
Game Two Score: Merrimack College 4, Southern New Hampshire University 3 (8 innings)
Records: SNHU 38-14, Saint Anselm 38-10-1, Merrimack 33-15
Senior Katie Horiuchi (Livingston, N.J.) connected on a pair of doubles, classmate Sarah Lavallee (Candia, N.H.) belted a two-run homer, and fellow senior Brittany Perdigao (Stoughton, Mass.) tripled and scored a run, but the Southern New Hampshire University softball team saw its 2018 season come to a close Friday after a pair of losses in the NCAA East 2 Regional. The Penmen dropped their opener to Saint Anselm College, 3-1, before falling in a back-and-forth affair in extra innings to Merrimack College, 4-3.
Sophomore Maddy Barone (Halifax, Mass.) was 2-for-5 in Friday's twinbill, and also fired 9.1 innings in the circle, where she fanned six and surrendered two earned runs on seven hits. Freshman Shay Sauvageau (Griswold, Conn.) also turned in a two-hit afternoon, and junior Erin Garczynski (Norwood, Mass.) added a double, an RBI and scored a run.
In Friday's finale, Lavallee toed the slab and held the Warriors scoreless through the first two innings. In the opening frame, she worked around back-to-back one-out doubles to strand runners at second and third before fanning a pair in the second. Merrimack was able to break through in the third, however, as RBI singles by Megan Cook and Caitlin McBride staked the Warriors to a 2-0 advantage.
The score remained unchanged into the fourth when Southern New Hampshire rallied to knot the score at two apiece. Garczynski reach on a one-out error to give the Penmen their second baserunner of the contest, and she swiped second to put herself into scoring position for Lavallee. The program's all-time home runs leader drew Southern New Hampshire even with one swing, as she drilled a 2-1 offering well over the wall in left center to level the score at two apiece and reset the contest.
The stalemate would be short-lived, however, as Merrimack regained the lead in the ensuing half inning. Alyssa Williamson reached on a Southern New Hampshire miscue that left her on second with one away, and after a cook fly out, McBride shot a base hit to right that drove in the go-ahead run to make it 3-2.
The Penmen would not go quietly, and after having a runner cut down at the plate in the bottom of the fifth, SNHU was able to knock in the equalizer in the home half of the sixth. Perdigao led off the frame by ripping a triple to straightaway center. Garczynski stepped in next, and after looking at a first pitch strike, she dropped a perfect squeeze bunt down the first-base line to bring in Perdigao to knot things up at three aside. In the seventh, Southern New Hampshire looked to be in prime position for its second walk off in as many days as Horiuchi tagged a lead-off double down the line in left before being sacrificed over to third. Unfortunately for the Penmen, a pair of hard hit balls wound up in the gloves of defenders, and the game went to extras.
In the eighth, it was McBride who delivered the fatal blow to Southern New Hampshire's season. McBride led off the frame, and immediately fell behind in the count 0-2, but was able to foul off four of the next seven pitches to work the count full. On pitch No. 10, McBride connected on a solo shot to left that proved to be the difference in the ballgame.
Lavallee fanned three and scattered six hits while allowing two runs over the first two-plus innings. Barone provided six innings of relief, and was charged with the loss after surrendering two runs – one earned – while striking out four.
In Friday's opener, the two sides held each other's offense in check through the first two and a half innings before the host Hawks plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. Erin Thompson tagged a one-out single down the left field line before Megan Murrell followed with an infield single to leave runners on first and second. Two batters later, Lauren Washburn plated Thompson with an infield single that preceded an RBI base hit off the bat of Jordan O'Connor.
After a Maggie Murphy homer extended the Saint Anselm lead to three through four, Southern New Hampshire attempted to mount a comeback in the top half of the fifth. Horiuchi smacked a one-out double to the right centerfield gap and a Barone single to center left runners on the corners with one away. Freshman Coralie Mathieu (Methuen, Mass.) stepped in next to pinch hit and she dropped down a sacrifice bunt that was thrown away, which allowed Horiuchi to score and moved both Mathieu and Barone into scoring position. It would be as close as the Penmen would come, as they stranded both baserunners after back-to-back strikeouts ended the frame.
- Friday marked the final games for Horiuchi, Lavallee and Perdigao in a Southern New Hampshire University uniform. The class of 2018 compiled an overall record of 129-61, which is a .679 winning percentage. The three graduating seniors played in three NCAA East Regional tournaments, advanced to two Super Regionals, won the 2015 Northeast-10 Championship and played in two NE10 Championship title games.
- The Penmen set a new program record for wins in a season with 38.
- Lavallee finishes her career as the program leader in home runs (39), second in RBI (113), ninth in runs scored (77), 10th in hits (143), sixth in earned run average (2.17), sixth in strikeouts (246), sixth in innings pitched (404.0) and fifth in games played (174).
- Perdigao is now the all-time leader in career games played with 185, and is second in program history in both hits (178) and runs scored (115), while also graduating fifth in triples (8) and seventh in stolen bases (20).
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