Murrell's bat, Perry's arm highlight softball's sweep of AIC

MANCHESTER, N.H. – Senior Megan Murrell homered in both games and sophomore Morgan Perry threw a one-hitter in game one as the Saint Anselm College softball team swept American International with 3-0 and 7-5 victories on Sunday afternoon at South Athletic Fields.

With the two wins, Saint Anselm improved to 22-8-1 overall and 9-2-1 in the Northeast-10 Conference. The Hawks are 7-1 at home this season and have won nine of their last 10 games. American International fell to 2-20 overall and 2-7 in conference play.

Murrell's two home runs brought her season total to seven, moving her into a five-way tie for the sixth-highest single-season total in program history. With three runs batted in on the day, Murrell moved into third in the single-season record book with 33 this season and her 88 career RBI rank sixth all-time. Murrell and classmate Amanda Bickford both entered the top 10 in career total bases with 229 and 225, respectively.

With hits in both games, Bickford extended her hitting streak to 18 games, while Murrell (nine) and Erin Thompson (seven) also prolonged theirs. Thompson has reached base safely in 19 games in a row and Madison Borrelli has been on base in the last 21 contests.

Saint Anselm 3, American International 0 | Box

Perry faced the minimum of 21 batters in game one, retiring the final 16 batters of the game after an infield single in the top of the second that was followed by a 1-6-3 double play. The shutout was the sophomore's third of the season as she struck out eight to improve to 12-3 with a 1.99 ERA this spring.

Ariana DiCioccio matched Perry by putting up zeroes through the first three innings until running into trouble in the bottom of the fourth. The Hawks started the inning with three-straight singles by Thompson, Murrell and Borrelli to fill the bases. After a shallow fly ball to center, sophomore Maggie Murphy drew a bases-loaded walk to plate the first run before Dicioccio escaped further damage.

Murrell provided Perry with two insurance runs in the home half of the fifth, slugging a two-run home run to right center after a Thompson single. Thompson, Murrell and Borrelli each had two hits as the trio combined for six of Saint Anselm's eight hits off Dicioccio.

Saint Anselm 7, American International 5 | Box

Saint Anselm built a 5-0 lead after five innings in game two until the Yellow Jacket bats came alive in a five-run sixth to tie the game. The Hawks responded in the bottom of the inning on a go-ahead, run-scoring triple by Shannon Colson, who also scored on an error on the play.

Freshman Courtney Fisher struck out a career-high six and kept AIC scoreless until the sixth before the Yellow Jackets chased her with five runs in the inning. Classmate Abbie Murrell walked two and struck out two in 1.1 no-hit innings of relief to earn her second victory of the season.

Megan Murrell finished a triple short of the cycle, going 3-for-3 with a walk, single, double and home run, while Colson was 2-for-4 with a double, triple two runs and one RBI. Bickford went 2-for-4 with a run and a stolen base, with Murphy going 1-for-3 a walk and two RBI.

The Hawks scored twice in the first inning, using Colson's speed and Murrell's power to take a 2-0 lead. After doubling with one out, Colson advanced to third base on a wild strike three and scored on the throw down to first. Murrell followed with her second home run of the day, a solo shot to center.

In the fourth, Saint Anselm doubled its lead to 4-0 with two more runs. With runners on second and third and nobody out, Maddison Leite drove in pinch-runner Kat Stackrow with a sacrifice fly to center. Murphy, the next batter, singled to left to drive in another run. Murphy coaxed her second bases-loaded walk of the day in the fifth, bringing in a run on a two-out walk, the third base on balls of the inning.

After Fisher cruised through the first five innings, AIC scored five times on five hits in the sixth to tie the game. Ashley Hughes doubled with one out, stole third and scored on a ground out to get the visitors on the board. With two outs, three-straight singles filled the bases and Kayla Riley walked with the bases filled to make it a 5-2 game. In her first at bat of the game after entering as a defensive replacement an inning earlier, Britany Guzman delivered a bases-clearing, three-run double to left center to tie it at 5-5.

Abbie Murrell relived Fisher after the tying double and got Saint Anselm out of the inning and was rewarded in the next half inning when Colson tripled to right center to score Bickford from first. An errant relay throw to third allowed Colson to scamper home on the play. The Hawks threatened for more but left the bases filled before Murrell finished off the Yellow Jackets in the seventh, striking out two.

The NE10's two winningest teams this season meet on Monday, Apr. 9 as the Hawks head across town to face Queen City Cup rival and No. 23-ranked Southern New Hampshire University for a doubleheader starting at 3 p.m.