NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Sophomore Julie LeClair (Taunton, Mass.) and senior Nicole Boucher (Woonsocket, R.I.) each cranked out home runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to complete a two-game sweep of Franklin Pierce University on Friday afternoon at the Warrior Softball Diamond on the campus of Merrimack College. Saint Anselm shut out the Ravens, 8-0, in the first game and then battled back in the second to take it, 7-6.
With the wins, Saint Anselm will improve to 10-6 overall with a 4-2 mark in the Northeast-10 conference, while the Ravens drop to 2-8, 1-3 NE-10.
The Hawks blanked the Ravens in just five innings in the first game, with seven hits from the offense and a stellar pitching performance from junior Tayla Trask (Lincoln, Maine). Trask pitched the complete game, striking out six and giving up a pair of hits.
Saint Anselm quickly jumped on the board in the first when Boucher, who reached on a single, scored on a Raven error. Junior Kasey Moran (Medford, Mass.) made it a 2-0 game when she scored on a single from senior Gina Treglia (Fairfield, Conn.).
The Hawks put up four more runs in the second to take a 6-0 lead after two. LeClair walked to start the inning and scored in the followed at bat due to a costly Franklin Pierce fielding error. Boucher singled up the middle to score freshman Sam Hennequin (Auburn, N.H.) – who reached on the error – to make it a 4-0 game. Moran grabbed a single of her own to score Boucher, making it 5-0, and then was forced in via a walk from senior Monique Gauthier (Canton, Conn.) to close scoring in the inning at 6-0.
The Hawks tacked on two more runs in the third when LeClair and Moran both scored for the Hawks. LeClair was plated thanks to a Franklin Pierce error and Moran crossed on a sacrifice bunt from sophomore Emily Crannell (Wilmington, Mass.).
Boucher tallied three stolen bases in the game and was 2-for-3 at the plate.
Saint Anselm rallied back from a 5-3 deficit in the sixth frame to take game two, 7-6. Boucher, LeClair, sophomore Pattie Turner (Warwick, R.I.) and Gauthier added two hits apiece as part of a nine-hit performance for the Hawks. LeClair was 2-for-3 with a home run and four RBI, while Boucher hit a pair of home runs and Gauthier was also 2-for-3 with a double, a home run and a pair of runs scored.
Franklin Pierce started the game with a home run in the top of the first to take a 1-0 lead after one. Saint Anselm had the answer in the second when LeClair singled to score Gauthier, who led off the inning with a double.
The Hawks took a 3-1 lead in the third when Boucher and Gauthier each tagged solo home runs off of Franklin Pierce starter Tricia Hansen. The Ravens earned one back in the fourth and then put together a three-run sixth to take the lead at 5-3, forcing the Hawks to mount the comeback in the bottom of the inning.
Turner doubled to lead off the inning, followed by a walk from junior Hannah Byrne (Lynn, Mass.) to put runners on first and second with no outs. Hansen worked a pop-up and then LeClair came through with a three-run homer to right center, giving the Hawks the 6-5 lead. Boucher added a little insurance to the lead with a two-out home run to left, giving Saint Anselm the 7-5 advantage.
Boucher's home run would prove to be critical as Franklin Pierce picked up a home run of its own in the seventh. But, that would be all the Ravens could muster as junior pitcher Paige Cormier (Rochester, N.H.) struck out the final two batters to earn the win. Cormier gave up three earned runs, while striking out seven batters.
The Hawks will return to action Saturday, April 5 at 12 p.m. as they travel to American International for a Northeast-10 doubleheader. Stay up-to-date with the latest news, including game previews and recaps, directly from the Saint Anselm College athletic department by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter @STAHawks.