MANCHESTER, N.H. – Senior Monique Gauthier (Canton, Conn.) was on base four times, homered and scored three runs, including the game winner, as the Saint Anselm College softball team captured a 6-5 win in the bottom of the seventh of game two to earn a split of Monday afternoon's doubleheader with Bentley University at South Athletic Field. Bentley eked out a 3-2 win in the first game.
The Hawks are now 20-11 on the season, including 12-7 in Northeast-10 play, and maintain a .004 first-place lead over crosstown rival Southern New Hampshire University in the Northeast Division. It is the earliest the Hawks have reached the 20-win mark since 2002 when they also recorded their 20th victory April 21. The Falcons are now 17-15, 11-11 NE-10, 9-7 NE-10 NE.
Saint Anselm jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first in game two when sophomore Emily Crannell (Wilmington, Mass.) drove a sacrifice fly to right that scored senior Nicole Boucher (Woonsocket, R.I.), who drew a leadoff walk and stole both second and third.
Bentley grabbed the lead in the next half-inning as they capitalized on two Saint Anselm errors to plate a pair of unearned runs on an RBI single through the left side from Kelly Sanborn and a run-scoring double to center by Natalie Tarantino.
The Hawks tied it in the bottom of the second when Gauthier took the second pitch of the inning and belted it over the fence in center. An RBI single from Crannell in the fourth put Saint Anselm back in the lead at 3-2, but the Hawks would leave the bases loaded.
That would temporarily hurt them as Kelsey Kennedy drilled an RBI single through the left side that scored Tarantino, who tripled off the fence in center in the previous at bat, to knot the game at 3-all in the top of the fifth.
Saint Anselm would go back on top in the bottom of the frame, however, as Gauthier drew a two-out walk and scored all the way from first base when junior Kasey Moran (Medford, Mass.) slapped an opposite-field double that sailed over the left fielder's head and sliced just inside the line.
Bentley would answer with two in the sixth on a two-out single to center by Jackie Gauthier and a two-out double to right from Sanborn that leapfrogged Bentley back into the lead at 5-4.
The Hawks would once again manufacture the tying run, however, as Boucher was hit by a pitch, stole second and then scored on a single up the middle by sophomore Julie LeClair (Taunton, Mass.).
After junior starter Paige Cormier (Rochester, N.H.) tossed a 1-2-3 seventh, Gauthier drew a 10-pitch walk to lead off the bottom of the inning, moved to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on Moran's bunt single back to the pitcher. Moran then moved up to second when the defense was not paying attention. Senior Gina Treglia (Fairfield, Conn.) entered as a pinch hitter, but never had to swing the bat as the first pitch went to the backstop and Gauthier slid across the plate safely to give the Hawks the victory.
Cormier (8-7) allowed five runs – three earned – on eight hits, while striking out three and not walking a batter.
Gauthier was 2-for-2 with a pair of walks, home run, RBI and three runs scored. Moran went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run, while LeClair was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Crannell (two RBI) and Boucher (two runs, four stolen bases) were each 1-for-1 with two walks.
Bentley moved out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the second of game two when a costly error and Shannon Connor's RBI groundout produced a pair of unearned runs. The Falcons would add another in the third after junior starter Tayla Trask (Lincoln, Maine) recorded the first two outs of the inning. Samantha Tierney and Gauthier followed with base hits to right before Sanborn's single up the middle stretched the lead to 3-0.
Saint Anselm made it onto the board in the bottom of the inning on LeClair's run-scoring single through the left side.
The game would stay like that until the bottom of the seventh when junior Hannah Byrne (Lynn, Mass.) crushed the second pitch of the inning over the fence in center to slice the Saint Anselm deficit in half at 3-2. Sophomore Pattie Turner (Warwick, R.I.) followed with a double that fell into shallow center and moved to third on an opposite field single to right by Boucher, who moved up to second after Bentley cut the throw and allowed her to advance.
The Hawks were looking like they were in great shape with no one out and two in scoring position, but Kelly Ferris went strikeout-foul out-strikeout to end the contest and pick up her sixth save. LeClair battled in the final nine-pitch at bat of the game as she fouled off four straight pitches before Ferris threw one by her.
Trask (12-4) went the distance and allowed three runs – one earned – on seven hits, while punching out eight and not walking a batter.
LeClair was 2-for-4 with an RBI, while Boucher (run, walk), Crannell, Byrne (RBI, run), Turner and senior Olivia Story (Middleton, Mass.) were all 1-for-3.
The Hawks return to action Tuesday, April 22 as they play host to Southern New Hampshire in doubleheader action that begins at 3 p.m. 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.