MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Saint Anselm College softball team put forth a valiant effort Thursday night, but simply ran out of innings against 24th-ranked Southern New Hampshire University at Penmen Field, falling 5-2.
The loss drops Saint Anselm to 20-9 overall and 11-7 in the Northeast-10 Conference Northeast division. Southern N.H., which improves to 26-6 overall and 15-3 in the league, clinches the Northeast Division title and will own a double-bye entering next week's Northeast-10 Championship tournament.
Saint Anselm, which is currently tied for second place in the division following Stonehill's split with Bentley, can still claim the #2-seed for the tournament with a series sweep at Merrimack and a Stonehill loss in its three-game weekend series against Franklin Pierce.
Freshman Hannah Paitchel (Pelham, N.H.) broke up a no-hit bid for the Penmen's senior ace Ali Maloof with a one-out flare to left center in the top of the fifth that advanced freshman Shannon McLaughlin (Tewskbury, Mass.) to second. However, Maloof induced two hard-hit flyouts to hold the Hawks scoreless.
Despite leaving two runners on in the fifth, momentum had clearly shifted a bit as Saint Anselm held SNHU scoreless in the home half of the inning. Junior Pattie Turner (Warwick, R.I.) ripped a one-out double that skipped off the centerfield fence and senior Kasey Moran (Medford, Mass.) laced a two-out single to left center to score Turner for the Hawks' first run. McLaughlin then pushed a hot shot down the right field line to score Moran and cut the lead in half after six and a half, 4-2.
The Penmen added a run in the bottom of the sixth, before Maloof locked in and sat down three of four hawks with short flyouts to end the game. Freshman Amanda Bickford (Salem, N.H.) recorded the lone infield hit of the inning, but was stranded at first to end the game.
Senior Paige Cormier (Rochester, N.H.) gave up four hits in four innings pitched, giving up three earned runs and falling to 7-4 on the year. Sophomore Sam Hennequin (Auburn, N.H.) came on in relief for the third straight afternoon, striking out two while giving up four hits and just one earned run over the final two innings.
With the end of the season rapidly approaching, Saint Anselm will travel to Merrimack for the final three games of the 2015 Northeast-10 Conference campaign Friday and Saturday. The Warriors are currently tied for fifth place in the division standings with Bentley University, both chasing fourth-place Assumption College by just a half-game. Clearly, results from this weekend's league slate will have a major bearing on which teams live on and earn a postseason berth.