Senior Day sweep of Bentley stretches softball's streak to eight

MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Saint Anselm College softball team extended its winning streak to eight games by posting a doubleheader sweep of Bentley University on Saturday, topping the Falcons 9-1 (6 inn.) and 2-1 on Senior Day at South Athletic Fields.

In the opener, Saint Anselm (31-9-1, 18-3-1 NE10) tallied 13 hits, led by three from senior Amanda Bickford, and Erin Thompson was one of three Hawks with multiple RBI with three in the 9-1 victory. In the nightcap, Abbie Murrell limited Bentley (11-27, 8-17 NE10) to one run over a complete game in the circle and Maggie Murphy dumped a walk-off, two-run single down the left-field line in the seventh to complete the sweep.

The walk-off win was Saint Anselm's second in as many days, third in four days and fifth of the season. Three of the five walk-off victories have come on hits by Murphy. The Hawks' eight-game winning streak is the team's longest since a stretch of nine-straight wins from Apr. 16 – 22, 2001, while the team's 31 wins are the most since the 1999 team finished 32-13 and are two shy of the 1997 team's program-record 33 victories. Saint Anselm has won 13 of its 14 home games this season.

Saint Anselm 9, Bentley 1 (6 inn.) | Box

Bickford reached base all four times in game one, going 3-for-3 with three runs and a walk to lead Saint Anselm's 13-hit attack. Freshman Lauren Washburn went 3-for-4 with a run and two RBI, Thompson was 2-for-4 with a run and three RBI and Jordan O'Connor clubbed her second home run of the season.

Freshman Courtney Fisher won her third-straight start and picked up her fourth win in her last four appearances, holding the Falcons to an unearned run over a six-inning complete game. Fisher allowed eight hits and one walk while striking out four.

Saint Anselm jumped on Bentley starter Ashley Keegan in the second, scoring four runs on five hits. Shannon Colson tripled to left center to start the inning before scoring on a Washburn single to right. O'Connor, the next batter, lifted a two-run home run to straight-away center field to make it 3-0 and Thompson added a two-out RBI single to cap the inning.

Bentley struck for an unearned run in the fourth, but Saint Anselm scored runs on a pair of groundouts in the fourth to go ahead, 5-1. A Bickford single, an error and a wild pitch left runners on second and third with nobody out before Thompson and Murrell plated runs with ground balls.

The Hawks sealed the run-rule win in the sixth, scoring three more runs without an out recorded. After a Bickford double and a walk to Murphy started the inning, Thompson drove an RBI single up the middle to bring in Bickford. Following a wild pitch, Megan Murrell lined a single off the pitcher to drive in another and Washburn ended the game two batters later with a bases-loaded single through the left side.

With two RBI in the opener, Megan Murrell tied Lisa Petell '99 for the most career RBI in program history with 96 and passed Sara Swett '02 for second on the single-season list with 41.

Saint Anselm 2, Bentley 1 | Box

Facing the Hawks for the second consecutive day, Bentley's Lauren Calabrese held Saint Anselm scoreless until Murphy's walk-off two-run single. Abbie Murrell matched Calabrese by putting up zeroes until the Falcons took a 1-0 lead in the sixth, earning her third victory in her third-career start.

Murrell fanned a career-high five while allowing just six hits over her seven innings. Calabrese yielded seven hits and two runs (one earned) over her 6.1 innings of work with three walks and two strikeouts.

Bickford and Murphy each had a pair of hits in the game-two win, while six Bentley hitters had one hit apiece. Colson swiped two bases in the game, bringing her NE10-leading total to 27 – the second-highest single-season total in program history.

Saint Anselm threatened to score the game's first run in the third, getting a leadoff double by Shannon McLaughlin and a sacrifice bunt from Michaela Kane to put McLaughlin 60 feet away. Calabrese escaped the jam, getting a lineout to third and a strikeout on either side of a Murphy walk and stolen base.

The Falcons grabbed a 1-0 advantage in the top of the sixth on a RBI double by Stephanie McQuaid. Stacey Korotsky led off the inning with a single to second, moved to second on a bunt and came around on McQuaid's tailing double to center. Bentley threatened to add another in the seventh with a runner on third and one out, but Murrell kept her team within a run by retiring the final two batters of the frame.

McLaughlin drew a leadoff walk to start Saint Anselm's seventh-inning rally. A throwing error on a line drive to third moved McLaughlin to second and a Bickford single left runners at the corners with one out. Bickford stole second to put two runners in scoring position for Murphy, who lofted a single over the third baseman's head and just inside the line to bring in pinch-runner Kaleigh Scoville and Bickford to end the game.

Saint Anselm travels to Assumption on Monday, Apr. 23 for a make-up game against the Greyhounds at 4 p.m. The game was originally scheduled for Apr. 15 but was postponed due to weather.