Softball Opens 2018 Season with Sweep of Mercyhurst and Felician


When and Where: February 16, 2018 – Myrtle Beach, S.C. (Ned Donkle Complex)
Game One Score: Southern New Hampshire University 7, Mercyhurst University 6 (8 innings)
Game Two Score: Southern New Hampshire University 6, Felician University 0
Records: SNHU 2-0, Mercyhurst 0-2, Felician 0-2

Senior Sarah Lavallee (Candia, N.H.) went 4-for-7 at the plate with two home runs and fired eight innings of one-run ball to help lead the Southern New Hampshire University softball team to an opening day doubleheader sweep of Mercyhurst University and Felician University. The Penmen rallied to top the Lakers in extra innings in their season opener, 7-6, before blanking the Golden Falcons, 6-0, in game two.

Lavallee earned both wins in the circle for Southern New Hampshire, as she provided two innings of relief in game one and hurled six shutout innings in Friday's second game. Senior Brittany Perdigao (Stoughton, Mass.) also collected four hits in seven trips to the plate with a pair of RBI, while junior Erin Garczynski (Norwood, Mass.) was on base four times with three hits and a walk to go along with four RBI and a run scored.

In Friday's lid lifter, the Penmen fell behind Mercyhurst early, as a leadoff home run by Cassandra Egelston and a defensive miscue set SNHU back, 2-0, after a half inning of play. The score remained unchanged into the third when Lindsey Parese lifted a sacrifice fly to plate the third Laker run of the afternoon.

Southern New Hampshire finally broke through in the home half of the third, as sophomore Jordan Wade (East Taunton, Mass.) reached on a two-out error. An infield single off the bat of Perdigao coupled with an interference call left runners on second and third for Garczynski, and she connected on an RBI single to trim the deficit to a pair.

After Mercyhurt pushed across a run in the top of the fifth to make it a 4-1 contest, the Penmen put together a three-run frame to knot the score at four. Sophomore Gabriella Vachon (Newton, Mass.) led things off with a double before senior Katie Horiuchi's (Livingston, N.J.) sacrifice bunt attempt was mishandled and left runners on the corners with nobody out. Horiuchi swiped second, and two batters later, Perdigao smacked a single to plate Vachon and make it a 4-2 affair. Perdigao stole second to put a pair into scoring position for Garczynski, who then lifted a sacrifice fly into right that brought in Horiuchi. A Laker fielding mishap on the play allowed for Perdigao to scamper in with the tying run, and the teams went through the ensuing two innings knotted at four.

Mercyhurst wasted little time in regaining the lead in the top half of the eighth, as Sarah Koscho led off with a base hit to drive in Jolene Teller, who was placed on second due to the international tiebreaker. Koscho came in to score two batters later on an infield single off the bat of Meredith Grimes, and the Lakers carried a 6-4 advantage into the bottom of the eighth.

In the home half of the eighth, Vachon led things off with a fly out to center, which allowed for senior Kailey March (East Taunton, Mass.) to move up from second to third. The advancement proved critical, as March would make it a one-run game when she raced in on a wild pitch. After Horiuchi walked, Perdigao connected on her third hit of the morning to put runners on first and second with two away. A walk to Garczynski loaded the bases, and the second wild pitch of the inning rattled around and allowed for both Horiuchi and Perdigao to score with the tying and winning runs.

Sophomore Maddy Barone (Halifax, Mass.) worked the first six innings of Friday's tilt and surrendered three earned runs on four hits while striking out nine. Lavallee entered in the seventh and earned the victory after scattering three hits and allowing an earned run.

Lavallee toed the slab in game two and held Felician in check as she surrendered five hits and fanned three in an efficient six innings before giving way to freshman Ali Atherton (Milford, Mass.), who worked a clean seventh in her first collegiate appearance.

Neither side was able to generate any offense until the third when the Penmen struck for a pair of unearned runs to take a lead they would never relinquish. Vachon opened the frame with a walk before freshman Jackie Gavin (Laconia, N.H.) followed by reaching on an error. After Wade singled to load the bases, Perdigao lifted a sacrifice fly to left to make it 1-0. Garczynski stepped in next and drilled an RBI single to knock in Gavin, and Southern New Hampshire was up, 2-0, through two and a half.

Lavallee made the lead stand, as she worked around a pair of hits and a Penmen error in the third and fourth before SNHU added to its lead in the fifth. Wade worked a one-out walk before being sacrificed over to second. Garczynski delivered another run-scoring single to up the lead to three, and Lavallee followed with a two-run bomb to make it 5-0. The score went unchanged until the seventh when the senior connected on her second long-ball of the afternoon to cap the game's scoring.

Garczynski and Lavallee each finished with a pair of hits in game two, with the former driving in a pair and the latter knocking in three. 

- The Penmen outhit their opponents Friday by a 17-12 margin. SNHU rapped out nine hits in the opener and surrendered seven before tacking on eight additional knocks in game two and scattering five. After fanning 12 times in game one, Southern New Hampshire settled down and punched out just once in game two. Penmen pitching combined for 13 Ks on the day.
- Lavallee's two home runs increases her career total to 27, which is tied for second all-time in program history with Lindsey Bolduc '16. Lavallee sits just eight shy of Kate Stanley's 35 for the most in school history.
- With four RBI on Friday, Garczynski moves into a tie with assistant coach Ali Maloof '15 for the eighth-most RBI in school history. Garczynski has driven in 72 runs thus far in her career and sits 42 shy of tying the all-time mark.

What's Next:
Southern New Hampshire is back in action on Saturday when it takes on East Stroudsburg University and Clarion University in Myrtle Beach. Game one is slated for a 10 a.m. start, while game two will follow at 2 p.m.

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