Perry strong in opener on 1-1 day for softball

CLERMONT, Fla. – Sophomore Morgan Perry allowed just four hits in a complete game as the Saint Anselm College softball team defeated Mercyhurst University by a 3-1 score to open the day, before the Hawks fell 5-1 to the University of Minnesota Duluth on Wednesday evening at Legends Way Ballfields.

Perry won her third-straight start for Saint Anselm (9-6) by limiting Mercyhurst (1-11) to one run with seven strikeouts in the opener, lowering her season earned-run average to 0.89. Courtney Fisher held Minnesota Duluth (13-3) to one run over the first four innings in the nightcap, but the Bulldogs pulled away in the fifth to claim the 5-1 win.

Saint Anselm 3, Mercyhurst 1 | Box

Saint Anselm scored twice in the top of the first inning to stake Perry to an early lead and the sophomore held the Lakers scoreless until the seventh inning. In the seventh with Mercyhurst within two, Perry struck out pinch hitter Natalie Graff with the bases loaded and two outs to end the game.

Shannon Colson and Lauren Washburn were each 2-for-4 for Saint Anselm, while Amanda Bickford, Maggie Murphy and Jordan O'Connor each had a hit and a run. Tori Pierucci struck out seven and walked seven while allowing three runs on seven hits in a complete game for Mercyhurst.

The first four batters of the game reached for the Hawks to help Saint Anselm go ahead early. Singles by Bickford and Murphy and a walk to O'Connor loaded the bases with nobody out. Megan Murrell then reached on an error with two runs scoring on the play. Pierucci avoided further damage by getting a pair of strikeouts and an out at the plate.

After Perry set down the first seven batters of the game, Emma LeGendre reached on an infield single for Mercyhurst, but Murrell threw her out stealing second to end the third. Another infield single in the fourth and a leadoff walk in the fifth were the only base runners for the Lakers prior to the seventh.

Saint Anselm pushed across a third run in the top of the seventh on a bases-loaded walk to Erin Thompson after singles by O'Connor, Colson and Washburn filled the bases with two away. The Lakers loaded the bases themselves in the bottom of the inning to get the tying run on base and the winning run at the plate. Jolene Teller got Mercyhurst on the board with a two-out RBI single to keep the bases full before Perry fanned Graff to complete the win.

Minnesota Duluth 5, Saint Anselm 1 | Box

In just the second meeting between the two programs, the Bulldogs rode the bat of Jessica Bren and the arm of Valerie Hohol to a win in the nightcap. Bren hit a pair of home runs and drove in four runs, while Hohol held the Hawks to one run on six hits in a complete game with seven strikeouts.

Michaela Kane had two of Saint Anselm's three hits and Maddison Leite drove in the Hawks' run with a RBI double in the seventh. Bren's two home runs accounted for four of the five runs off Fisher, who worked the first 5.1 innings, before Abbie Murrell struck out three in 1.2 innings of no-hit relief.

Bren hit a line-drive home run to right center to lead off the top of the second for Minnesota Duluth to start the scoring and the score remained 1-0 until she hit a tailing three-run home run to right in the fifth. The Bulldogs added a fifth run in the top of the sixth on a RBI single by Jordyn Thomas to end Fisher's night.

Hohol held Saint Anselm's bats quiet until the seventh when Colson led off by dropping a double down the left-field line. After a passed ball and a ground out, Leite hit a bullet that went all the way to the wall in left center to score Colson.

On Thursday, March 8, the Hawks will take on Ferris State (2 p.m.) and Ashland (4:30 p.m.) as the begin to wind down their time in Clermont.