When and Where: April 21, 2018 – Manchester, N.H. (SNHU Softball Field)
Game One Score: Merrimack College 7, Southern New Hampshire University 1
Game Two Score: Southern New Hampshire University 9, Merrimack College 0
Records: SNHU 32-10 (15-7 NE10, 10-6 NE10 Northeast); Merrimack 27-10 (14-7 NE10, 9-4 NE10 Northeast)
Senior Sarah Lavallee (Candia, N.H.) went 3-for-6 at the plate Saturday with four RBI, and hurled a one-hit shutout in the circle to help the Southern New Hampshire University softball team split a Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division doubleheader with Merrimack College at the SNHU Softball Field. The Penmen dropped the opener, 7-1, before storming back in game two to topple the Warriors, 9-0, in five innings.
After knocking in the lone run in game one on Saturday, Lavallee added two hits in three trips to the plate with three RBI in the finale. In addition to her performance at the dish, Lavallee toed the slab and fanned two while surrendering just an infield single in a complete-game effort. Freshman Emily Critch (Halifax, Mass.) was 3-for-5 in the twinbill with a home run, double and three runs driven in, while classmate Shay Sauvageau (Griswold, Conn.) doubled, knocked in a run, scored once and rapped out three hits of her own.
Southern New Hampshire responded to its game one setback by jumping out to an early lead in game two. Senior Brittany Perdigao (Stoughton, Mass.) reached on a fielder's choice, and after a groundout moved her up to second with two outs, Lavallee laced a single through the left side that plated the game's first run. Critch dug in next and smashed a 1-2 offering over the wall in left-center to put the Penmen in front, 3-0.
Lavallee worked around the lone Merrimack hit of the ballgame in the top of the second before the offense went back to work in the bottom of the frame. Sophomore Jordan Wade (East Taunton, Mass.) reached on an error before freshman Jackie Gavin (Laconia, N.H.) dropped down a bunt single to put runners on first and second with nobody out. A sacrifice bunt advanced both runners into scoring position for Sauvageau, who singled into center to knock in Wade. After Perdigao reached on an error and the Warriors went to the bullpen, Lavallee lashed a single through the right side that brought home Sauvageau and Perdigao to extend the advantage to six. Critch capped off the inning by drilling a double to the gap in right-center to bring in junior Erin Garczynski (Norwood, Mass.).
Lavallee turned in a shutdown inning in the ensuing half frame before turning things over to her offense for additional support. Wade led off the rally with a double to center before moving to third on a sac bunt by Gavin. Senior Katie Horiuchi (Livingston, N.J.) was plunked by a pitch in the elbow, and after she swiped second, Perdigao shot a single into left-center that allowed Wade to score the eighth Southern New Hampshire run of the contest. Garczynski followed with a run-scoring single to left that provided the final margin of victory.
In Saturday's opener, Merrimack blitzed the Penmen with four runs in the first two innings to take command of the game. After the first batter of the game was retired, Nicole Nanof belted a solo shot to stake the Warriors to a 1-0 lead. Tiffany Mangiameli shot a single through the left side with one away in the second to double the visitors' advantage, and two batters later, Alyssa Williamson dumped a single into left that pushed Merrimack ahead by three. Megan Cook stepped in next and worked a bases loaded walk to make it 4-0.
Southern New Hampshire attempted to claw its way back into the game in the third when Lavallee plated Perdigao with a two-out single, but it would be all the offense the hosts could muster. Emily Kurkul connected on her fourth homer of the year in the top of the fifth to reestablish a four-run cushion before she tagged an RBI double in the seventh to make it 6-1. Hannah Johnson dropped a single into center that drove in the game's final run, and provided the Warriors with the 7-1 win.
Megan Cook improved to 19-2 on the year after allowing one run on five hits with two strikeouts and a walk. Nanof finished the lid lifter 2-for-2 with a walk, while Williamson was 3-for-5 with an RBI.
- Sophomore Maddy Barone (Halifax, Mass.) was tagged with the loss in game one after surrendering four runs on five hits in 1.1 innings of work before turning the ball over to freshman Olivia Strasser (Rutland, Mass.), who provided 5.1 innings of three-run relief.
- Game two marked the third time this season the Penmen had dispatched an opponent in five innings and the first since topping Post University, 13-0, on March 29.
- Lavallee earned her 16thwin of the season in her 10thcomplete game of the year. She now has 40 career wins for the Penmen and 31 complete-game efforts.
Southern New Hampshire will wrap up its regular season home schedule Sunday (April 22) when it honors its three graduating seniors on senior day against Merrimack at noon.