MANCHESTER, N.H. – It was a tale of two games for the Saint Anselm College softball team Saturday afternoon at South Athletic Field, as the Hawks split the opening two-game series against Assumption College, dropping game one 3-0 before rebounding with an 8-2 win in the nightcap.
The afternoon split moves Saint Anselm to 17-6 overall and 9-4 in the Northeast-10 Conference Northeast division. Assumption improves to 17-12 overall and 9-8 in league play.
Assumption's three-run third inning would be more than enough offense to secure the victory in the series opener as Saint Anselm mustered just six hits spread over the seven-inning game. The Greyhounds got a leadoff single to third and capitalized on two more hits, a sacrifice fly and three Saint Anselm errors to push to a 3-0 lead.
Saint Anselm senior hurler Tayla Trask (Lincoln, Maine) would not allow another hit over the final four innings, but the Hawks' offense could find no answer for Assumption's Kendal Roy, who struck out four on the afternoon. Trask, meanwhile, fell to 9-3 in the circle and none of the runs given up were earned while issuing five strikeouts.
Freshman Megan Murrell (Scarborough, Maine) went 2-for-3 at the plate in game one, recording the Hawks' first hit on a hot double down the right field line in the second innings, then added single in the bottom of the fourth.
The Hawks continued to battle into the seventh inning, with junior Pattie Turner (Warwick, R.I.) reaching base on an error to lead off the inning. Murrell moved Turner to second with a groundout and a single up the middle by senior Kasey Moran (Medford, Mass.) put runners on the corners with one out. Freshman Shannon McLaughlin (Tewksbury, Mass.) earned a gritty walk to load the bases, but Roy came back with a strikeout and induced a groundout to seal the game.
Finally in game two, the Saint Anselm bats awoke. After spotting the Greyhounds a run in the top of the third on a double-play pickoff attempt gone awry, the Hawks responded with four runs in the bottom of the inning. Turner led off with a single and Murrell took an 0-1 pitch deep to center. Moran then looped a single into the gap just over third base that was misplayed by the left fielder, advancing to second while moving Murrell to third and scoring Turner. Junior Michaela Criscione (Franklin, Mass.) then launched another deep crack off the centerfield fence to score the pair of runners, eventually scoring on a wild pitch as the Hawks surged into the lead, 4-1, after three.
Saint Anselm grabbed two more runs in the fifth as Murrell and McLaughlin's hits to left field scored senior Hannah Byrne (Lynn, Mass.) and Turner, respectively. A leadoff double for Assumption in the top of the sixth would eventually score, but junior Emily Crannell (Wilmington, Mass.) launched her third career homerun just inside the left field foul pole as Saint Anselm jumped to the 8-2 win.
Senior pitcher Paige Cormier (Rochester, N.H.) won her fourth consecutive game, giving up eight hits and one earned run while striking out four Greyhounds on the afternoon. For the season, she also improved to 6-2 in the circle and faced just 29 batters in the nightcap.
The Hawks and 'Hounds will return to South Athletic Field for another double-header Sunday afternoon, the first game of which will count toward divisional play. The five-member senior class will also be recognized during a short presentation between games Sunday, as it will be the final regular season home game that lands on a weekend for the softball.