Softball Walks Off on Pace in NCAA Regional Opener, Advances to Face Saint Anselm Friday


When and Where: May 10, 2018 – Manchester, N.H. (South Athletic Fields)
Score: Southern New Hampshire University 3, Pace University 2
Records: SNHU 38-12, Pace 27-21

Senior Sarah Lavallee(Candia, N.H.) crushed a solo homer and allowed just one earned run over six innings, and third-seeded Southern New Hampshire University plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh to rally past sixth-seeded Pace University in walk off fashion, 3-2, in the opening round of the NCAA East 2 Regional on Thursday.

The Penmen advance to take on the No. 2 seed, Saint Anselm College, at 11 a.m. on Friday. The Hawks used a late rally of their own to post a 3-2 win over No. 7 Merrimack College in Thursday's lid lifter. 

After a two-out, two-strike single off the bat of Larissa Labs knocked in Lindsey Ah soon to put the Setters ahead, 2-1, Southern New Hampshire capitalized off three Pace errors in the home half of the frame to pull out the win. Freshman Emily Critch (Halifax, Mass.) reached on a two-base Setter miscue to lead off the frame before being lifted for sophomore pinch runner Erin Tyrrell (Milford, N.H.). Sophomore Jordan Wade (East Taunton, Mass.) stepped in next and laid down a bunt between the pitcher and third baseman to advance Tyrrell, however, the Pace defender made an errant throw to first that allowed the tying run to score and left Wade on second with nobody out. Senior Katie Horiuchi (Livingston, N.J.) followed with a base hit to right to give SNHU runners on the corners before sophomore Maddy Barone (Halifax, Mass.) connected on a sacrifice fly to right that plated Wade with the winning run.

The Penmen wasted little time in building an early 1-0 lead thanks to Lavallee. The senior righthander retired six of the first seven batters she faced through the first two innings before leading off the bottom of the second with a titanic blast to straightaway centerfield that gave Southern New Hampshire a one-run cushion.

The lead held until the top half of the fourth, when Pace took advantage of an SNHU miscue to reset the contest. Stephanie Wang started things off with a base hit to left before a sacrifice bunt and groundout left her on third with two away. The final out of the inning appeared to come off the bat of Aby Brambila, but the ball was mishandled and allowed Wang to scamper in with the tying run. Lavallee worked around another error on the ensuing batter to strand a pair and send the game to the bottom of the frame still knotted at one apiece.

Lavallee worked the first six-plus innings on Thursday and scattered five hits while fanning three and surrendering just one earned run. Barone earned the win after she entered with two on and nobody out in the seventh, and proceeded to fan the first two batters she faced before retiring the final hitter of the frame on a fly out to center.

The Penmen offense was able to only muster three hits, as freshman Coralie Mathieu (Methuen, Mass.) added a pinch-hit single to Lavallee's homer and Horiuchi's base hit.

- Southern New Hampshire improves to 13-7 all time in the NCAA Tournament, including a 13-3 mark in regional action.
- Lavallee's home run was her 13thof the season and No. 38 in her career, which extends her program record. She also registered the 111thRBI of her career, which moves her within three of tying the school record of 114.
- The Penmen are now a perfect 16-0 when they connect on at least one home run during a contest. SNHU improved its record to 5-9 when being outhit by an opponent, and is now 13-3 in one-run ballgames.
- Southern New Hampshire is now 29-1 when holding opponents to two runs or less and 19-1 when the opposition commits at least two errors.

What's Next:
The Penmen take on the Hawks Friday at 11 a.m. with a berth in the NCAA Division II East 2 Regional final on the line.

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