When and Where: April 28, 2018 – Worcester, Mass. (Marois Field)
Game One Score: Assumption College 6, Southern New Hampshire University 5
Game Two Score: Southern New Hampshire University 1, Assumption College 0
Records: SNHU 36-11 (19-8 NE10, 14-7 NE10 Northeast); Assumption 19-15 (14-10 NE10, 12-9 NE10 Northeast)
Senior Sarah Lavallee (Candia, N.H.) connected on her 12th home run of the season to provide all the offense in Saturday's regular season finale, and the Southern New Hampshire University softball team set a new program record for wins in a season after topping Assumption College, 1-0. The Penmen split a twinbill after falling in game one, 6-5, in what was a continuation of Friday's second game.
Saturday's triumph was the 36th of the season for Southern New Hampshire, which eclipses the previous single-season record set by the 2015 team that advanced to the NCAA Division II East Super Regional. The win also secured the No. 2 seed in the Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division and gives the Penmen a bye into the second round of the upcoming NE10 Championship.
Sophomore Maddy Barone (Halifax, Mass.) earned her 16th win of the season in game two after hurling her 16th complete game of the year. Barone struck out nine and walked just one while allowing four hits in an outing where she allowed just one runner to advance past second base.
After Barone fanned the side in the bottom of the first, the Greyhounds posed their most significant threat of the afternoon in the home half of the second after Stephanie Menard led off the frame with a triple to center. Barone was forced to bear down, and she responded by not allowing a ball to enter fair territory, as she struck out the ensuing batter before inducing a foul pop out and punching out the final batter of the inning.
The Penmen offense was stymied through the first three-plus innings before Lavallee provided Barone with all the offense she would need. Just one day after belting her 36th career homer to establish a new program record, Lavallee increased the benchmark by smashing her 12th of the season with two away in the fourth. Barone made the lead stand, as she allowed just two hits over the final three innings of play to close out the regular season.
Saturday's lid lifter was a continuation from Friday's doubleheader finale, which was halted in the bottom of the first inning with Assumption ahead, 2-0, thanks in large part to a pair of Penmen errors.
Once the calendar flipped to Saturday, Southern New Hampshire clawed back to eventually take the lead in the fourth. The Penmen trimmed their deficit to a single run in the third when freshman Emily Critch (Halifax, Mass.) cracked an RBI single to right that knocked in senior Brittany Perdigao (Stoughton, Mass.) to make it 2-1. Freshman Jackie Gavin (Laconia, N.H.) drew a one-out free pass in the fourth before moving up to second on a sacrifice bunt. Freshman Shay Sauvageau (Griswold, Conn.) stepped in next and ripped a triple to left that knocked in Gavin, and Sauvageau came in to score when Perdigao followed with a base hit through the right side that gave SNHU a 3-2 edge.
The score remained unchanged until the home half of the fifth when the Greyhounds struck for two runs to regain the lead. Haley Drakoulakos started things off with a base knock through the left side before Alyssa Beaton worked a walk to put runners on first and second with nobody out. Menard strode up next and smacked a two-run double that pushed the hosts back in front, 4-3.
The lead would be short-lived, however, as the Penmen plated two runs of their own in the next half inning. Wade led off with a double to left before walks to Gavin and Sauvageau left the bases loaded with one away. Two batters later, Garczynski tagged a single back up the middle that drove in Wade and Gavin to stake Southern New Hampshire to a 5-4 advantage.
The back-and-forth affair continued in the bottom of the sixth with Assumption rallying for the tying and go-ahead runs. After Nicole Duplease kicked off the frame with a double to center, Julia Mazzeo singled and stole second to leave runners on second and third with one away. Drakoulas dug in next and reached on an error that allowed Duplease to score the tying run, and a sacrifice fly by Beaton provided what proved to be the winning run.
Sauvageau finished the first game 2-for-3 with a double and a triple to go along with an RBI, run scored and walk. Perdigao chipped in with two hits in four trips with a run scored and one driven in, while Gavin reached base three times and scored twice on a base hit and a pair of walks.
- Lavallee's RBI on Saturday increased her career total to 109, which moved her into sole possession of second all-time in career runs batted in.
- Perdigao's two base hits gives her 174 for her career, which stands third all-time and just three behind Kelsea Cheney '13 for second in program annals.
- Garczynski's two hits now gives her 166 over her nearly three seasons at SNHU, which is sixth-most all-time and one away from tying Mo Hannan '16 for fifth.
Southern New Hampshire is idle until May 3, when it will play the winner of the matchup between the Nos. 3 and 4 seeds in the Southwest Division in the Northeast-10 Championship second round.
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