When and Where:April 9, 2018 – Manchester, N.H. (SNHU Softball Field)
Game One Score: Saint Anselm College 5, No. 23 Southern New Hampshire University 0
Game Two Score: No. 23 Southern New Hampshire University 2, Saint Anselm College 1
Records: SNHU 25-7 (8-4 NE10, 3-3 NE10 NE); Saint Anselm 23-9-1 (10-3-1 NE10, 6-2 NE10 NE)
Senior Sarah Lavallee (Candia, N.H.) fanned six in a complete-game effort, and freshmen Jackie Gavin (Laconia, N.H.) and Emily Critch (Halifax, Mass.) joined sophomore Jordan Wade (East Taunton, Mass.) with a pair of hits as the 23rd-ranked Southern New Hampshire University softball team split a Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division doubleheader with crosstown rival Saint Anselm College on Monday. The Penmen dropped a 5-0 final in game one before topping the Hawks, 2-1, in the finale.
Lavallee scattered five hits and allowed just one run while improving to 12-2 in the circle. Gavin collected three hits on the afternoon after going 1-for-3 in the opener prior to a 2-for-3 performance in game two.
After Lavallee breezed through the first two innings with four strikeouts, Southern New Hampshire broke through with its first run of the twinbill in the home half of the second. Junior Erin Garczynski (Norwood, Mass.) led off the frame with a base hit before Gavin and Critch reached with one-out infield singles to load the bases. The hustle plays would prove pivotal, as a wild pitch to the ensuing batter allowed Garczynski to scamper home and make it 1-0.
The Penmen wasted little time in doubling their lead as they tacked on a single run in the third. Wade started the inning with a single to center before freshman Shay Sauvageau (Griswold, Conn.) dropped a base hit into centerfield to put runners on the corners with one out. Garczynski stepped in next and dropped down a squeeze bunt that plated Wade to push Southern New Hampshire ahead, 2-0.
The insurance run came in handy in the next half inning when Saint Anselm scratched across its first run of the contest. The Hawks' bats were relatively dormant for the first three innings, however, they struck quickly in the fourth to trim the deficit in half. Erin Thompson opened the inning by shooting a single to left before Megan Murrell ripped a triple down the right field line to make it a 2-1 ballgame.
With a runner on third and nobody out, Lavallee buckled down and extinguished the threat. She sat down the ensuing hitter on strikes before knocking down a shot back through the box, checking the runner back and firing on to first. Lavallee closed out the frame by catching the final hitter looking to preserve the 2-1 lead.
It would not be the final time the senior righthander would have to work out of trouble, as Saint Anselm loaded the bases with less than two outs in the seventh. After a leadoff walk and sacrifice bunt put the tying run in scoring position, Shannon McLaughlin singled to right to give the Hawks runners on the corners. A walk to Jordan O'Connor loaded the bases with one away, but two standout defensive plays by senior Brittany Perdigao (Stoughton, Mass.) secured the victory. With one out, Perdigao snared a sharply hit groundball and fired home to cut down the runner before she laid out to pluck a line drive ticketed for left field out of the air for the game's final out.
In Monday's opener, Morgan Perry silenced the Southern New Hampshire bats with a complete game, three-hit shutout that featured six strikeouts and a pair of walks.
Saint Anselm provided Perry with all the offense she would need in the top of the second when Maggie Murphy singled through the right side, and came all the way around on the play by virtue of a three-base miscue in the SNHU outfield. After an RBI double off the bat of Murrell in the third, the Hawks tacked on a pair of runs in the sixth on an Amanda Bickford Single and an Erin Thompson sacrifice fly. McLaughlin capped the game's scoring with a base hit that plated Murphy in the seventh.
- Southern New Hampshire was playing its fifth and sixth games in three days.
- Sophomore Maddy Barone (Halifax, Mass.) was saddled with the loss in Monday's opener after allowing just three earned runs and striking out 10 while allowing 12 hits.
- The Penmen currently trail the Hawks, 17-13, in the 2017-18 Queen City Cup standings. A Southern New Hampshire win in Tuesday's series finale would prevent Saint Anselm from clinching its first-ever win.
- Garczynski finished the day 2-for-4 with a walk, RBI and run scored.
The Penmen and Hawks have a quick turnaround, as the two sides will lock up again Tuesday (April 10) for their season series finale on the Hilltop at 4 p.m.
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