MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Saint Anselm College softball team split a doubleheader against Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Divisional foe Merrimack College, rebounding from a 7-4 loss in game one to take game two, 7-4, on Saturday at South Athletic Fields.
Saint Anselm (19-8-1, 6-2-1 NE10) led the opener by a 3-0 score before Merrimack (17-6, 4-3 NE10) used a five-run fourth to take the lead for good. In game two, the Hawks strung together three-straight multi-run innings in the second, third and fourth on their way to gaining the split.
With hits in both games, senior Amanda Bickford ran her hitting streak to 15 games and has hit safely in 20 of the last 21 contests. Sophomores Madison Borrelli and Erin Thompson also extended lengthy streaks by reaching base safely for the 18th and 16th consecutive games, respectively, in the doubleheader.
Merrimack 7, Saint Anselm 4 | Box
Center fielder Nicole Amato lifted Merrimack to the victory in game one, providing the go-ahead three-run home run to cap the five-run fourth. Megan Cook went the distance in the circle to improve to 10-1 on the season and also was 2-for-4 with a run and two RBI at the plate.
Borrelli, Thompson and senior Megan Murrell had two hits apiece for Saint Anselm, with Thompson scoring a pair of runs. Murrell drove in one and scored another, while Borrelli had an RBI while reaching base three times.
Saint Anselm got on the board first in the bottom of the first when Murrell dropped a bloop single down inside the line in right to score Thompson, who had doubled with two outs. The Hawks loaded the bases later in the inning, but Cook avoided further damage.
In the third, the Hawks tacked on two unearned runs on a fly ball that dropped after a miscommunication by the Merrimack defense. After the miscue, the Warriors' bats came to life in the fourth, scoring five runs on five hits. The first five batters all reached base after Morgan Perry set down the first nine batters of the game, with Nanof delivering the big hit in the inning with her three-run homer.
Cook provided her second RBI single of the game with two outs in the fifth to stretch the Merrimack lead to 6-3. Kristina Terrazzano plated the Warriors' seventh run with a two-out single in the seventh before Borrelli sent a run-scoring double to right in the home half of the frame.
In a matchup of two of the NE10's leaders in wins, ERA and strikeouts, Cook came out on top, fanning five while allowing four runs (two earned) on eight hits in the complete game. Perry had four strikeouts in her five innings of work before Abbie Murrell struck out three over the final two frames, allowing just an unearned run.
Saint Anselm 7, Merrimack 1 | Box
Four Hawks had multi-hit games in game two and freshman Courtney Fisher limited Merrimack to a single run over seven innings to earn her eighth victory of the season. Senior Amanda Bickford led the offense with three hits and Murrell went deep for the fourth time this season.
Sophomore Shannon Colson was 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI and senior Shannon McLaughlin went 2-for-3 while scoring once and driving in another. Murrell's home run came as part of a 2-for-4 performance.
Saint Anselm got to Merrimack starter Courtney Zambello in the second on back-to-back RBI doubles by McLaughlin and sophomore Michaela Kane. Freshman Maddison Leite doubled the Hawks' lead to 4-0 with a two-run double to deep right field in the next inning.
The Hawks continued to add to their lead in the fourth, adding three more runs. After a Bickford single with one out, Colson doubled to right to bring in Bickford and moved to third on the play. Following a walk, Thompson was thrown out stealing second, but Colson scampered home on the throw to second and Murrell then homered to right center.
A solo home run by Emily Kurkul to lead off the fifth was the lone run Merrimack would get off Fisher, who struck out three and walked two in the victory, while lowering her ERA to 2.24. The rookie has 10 complete games among her 12 starts.
The two teams complete their three-game series with the rubber game on Monday, Apr. 2 at 1 p.m. at South Athletic Fields.