Softball Walks Off on Merrimack in 10-Inning Senior-Day Thriller

BOX SCORE

When and Where: April 22, 2018 – Manchester, N.H. (SNHU Softball Field)
Score: Southern New Hampshire University 4, Merrimack College 3 (10 innings)
Records: SNHU 33-10 (16-7 NE10, 11-6 NE10 Northeast), Merrimack 27-11 (14-8 NE10, 9-5 NE10 Northeast)

Freshman Coralie Mathieu (Methuen, Mass.) delivered a one-out sacrifice fly to score senior Brittany Perdigao (Stoughton, Mass.) and cap off a two-run bottom of the 10th inning, as the Southern New Hampshire University softball team outlasted Merrimack College, 4-3, on senior day at the SNHU Softball Field Sunday.

After the Warriors took a 3-2 edge in the top half of the 10th by virtue of the international tiebreaker and a pair of fielder's choices, the Penmen rallied for the third time in the ballgame to walk off with the win. Sophomore Maddy Barone (Halifax, Mass.) was placed on second to start off the home half of the frame, and she advanced to third when Perdigao led off the inning with a base hit through the right side. Junior Erin Garczynski (Norwood, Mass.) was intentionally walked to load the bases for senior Sarah Lavallee (Candia, N.H.), who promptly made Merrimack pay by delivering a sac fly deep to right that brought in Barone with the tying run. With runners on the corners, the Warriors again went to the four-pitch free pass, this time choosing to put on freshman Emily Critch (Halifax, Mass.) in favor of facing Mathieu with the bases full. After falling behind in the count, 0-2, Mathieu fouled off a two-strike pitch before lifting a fly into short left. Perdigao took one step forward before racing back to third, tagging up and darting home. She maneuvered around the Merrimack catcher and slid headfirst across home plate with the winning run.

Southern New Hampshire needed to stage a comeback in the seventh to force extras, as the Warriors jumped ahead in the top of the inning on an RBI double off the bat of Emily Kurkul. After the first two Penmen hitters were retired to start the seventh, Perdigao smacked a triple to right that brought up Garczynski with two away, and she ripped a line shot off the Merrimack third baseman that rolled far enough away to allow her to reach and score Perdigao with the tying run.

The Warriors wasted little time in grabbing a lead Sunday after being blanked in Saturday's finale. Nicole Nanof laced a double through the right side of the infield that rolled all the way to the wall in right-center before coming around to score two batters later on an RBI single by Megan Cook.

The lead stood until the third when the Penmen were finally able to get to Cook. Garczynski started the rally with a one-out single through the left side of the infield before moving up on a groundout. Critch followed with a booming single to center that hit off the base of the wall and allowed Garczynski to scamper in with the tying run.

Garczynski finished the afternoon 3-for-4 with an RBI, walk and run scored. Perdigao added two hits in five trips and scored twice, while Lavallee and Critch each added a hit and an RBI. Lavallee took the ball to start and worked the first 6.1 innings, in which she allowed two runs on seven hits with a pair of strikeouts. Freshman Ali Atherton (Milford, Mass.) earned her second win of the season after providing 3.2 innings of relief, striking out two on two hits with just the unearned run in the top of the 10th.

Cook was tagged with the loss despite fanning seven on 158 pitched in 9.2 innings. She allowed three earned runs and scattered nine hits while walking three.

Notes:
- Sunday marked the final regular season home game for Lavallee, Perdigao and classmate Katie Horiuchi (Livingston, N.J). The trio was honored in a pregame ceremony as part of the senior day festivities.
- Sunday's victory was the 124th by the class of 2018, which ties them with the previous two graduating classes for the most wins over a four-year stretch in program history.
- Both teams totaled nine hits on Sunday, while the Warriors committed the game's lone error.

What's Next:
Southern New Hampshire continues Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division play on Tuesday (April 24) when it heads to Rindge, New Hampshire for a 3 o'clock clash with Franklin Pierce University.

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