Pitching leads softball to sweep at Pace, Bickford ties hit record

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – Senior Amanda Bickford tied the program record for career hits and the Saint Anselm College softball team got a pair of strong pitching performances, as the Hawks swept Pace University by scores of 2-0 and 6-1 on Sunday afternoon at Pace Softball Field.

In the opener, freshman Courtney Fisher threw her first collegiate shutout for Saint Anselm (15-7-1, 2-1-1 NE10), limiting Pace (2-10, 1-3 NE10) to three hits and one walk in her sixth victory of the season. Sophomore Morgan Perry struck out six in a complete game in the nightcap and benefitted from a five-run third to move to 8-2 this spring.

Bickford had one hit in game one and two more in game two to give the senior 185 for her career, moving Bickford into a tie with Nicole Boucher '14 atop the all-time hits list. Sophomore Shannon Colson stole a base in both games, giving her 17 on the season, the second-highest total in program history. The two swipes gave Colson 33 for her career, leaving her alone in fourth all-time at Saint Anselm.

Senior Megan Murrell drove in two runs in the nightcap, giving her 78 for her career, moving her up two spots into 10th in program history.

Saint Anselm 2, Pace 0 | Box

After yielding three hits in the first two innings, Fisher held the Setters hitless over the final five frames to run her record to 6-4 this spring. The Hawks manufactured runs in the first and fourth innings and got hits from six different hitters in the win.

Saint Anselm scored the only run Fisher would need in the top of the first, taking advantage of a Pace error to plate an unearned run. With one out, sophomore Maggie Murphy singled, stole second, moved to third on a ground ball and scored on a fielding error.

Pace threatened to tie the game in the bottom of the second when Ashley Lew singled to center with runners on second and third with two outs. However, Bickford threw out Aby Brambila at the plate from center field for one of her two outfield assists in the game.

Colson led off the fourth with a single, stole second, advanced to third on a ground out and scored on a RBI grounder off the bat of Madison Borrelli to make it 2-0. Over the final five innings, Fisher allowed only one runner to reach scoring position, pitching around two errors and one hit batter to see out the victory.

Mackenzie Garrick took the loss for the Setters despite allowing just one earned run on six hits in a complete game. Garrick did not walk a batter and struck out four.

Saint Anselm 6, Pace 1 | Box

Murrell went 3-for-4 with a double, triple, two runs and two RBI in game two, while freshman Maddison Leite knocked in three runs to back Perry, who allowed one run or fewer for the seventh time in 11 starts. Perry scattered seven hits and three walks over her seven innings of work.

Saint Anselm started the second inning with a double by Murrell and a single by Colson, leaving runners at the corners with nobody out. After Colson was caught stealing, Leite opened the scoring with an RBI groundout.

The Hawks broke the game open in the third, scoring five times on just three hits. Bickford brought in pinch-runner Kaleigh Scoville from second with a one-out single and, three batters later, Murrell hit her first-career triple to drive in two more. Coming to bat with runners on second and third, Leite produced a two-run single to right as part of a run of five-straight batters to reach base with two outs.

Pace scored its lone run of the day in the bottom of the fifth, loading the bases with one out and scoring on a fielder's choice. The Setters got their leadoff batter on base five times and had at least one baserunner in all seven innings, but were just 2-for-13 with runners on base.

Saint Anselm plays its three regular-season games against Franklin Pierce next week, beginning with a single game at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Mar. 28. The two teams then play a doubleheader the next day starting at 3 p.m. All three games are to be played at Merrimack's Martone-Mejail Field.