GARDEN CITY, N.Y. – The No. 24-ranked Saint Anselm College softball team was shut out for just the second time this season as Emma Bernet pitched Pace University to a 2-0 victory over the Hawks in the semifinals of the 2018 Northeast-10 Conference Softball Championship on Friday afternoon at Janet L. Ficke Field on the campus of Adelphi University.
Bernet, a First Team All-NE10 selection earlier this week and the conference's leader in ERA this season (1.05), scattered five hits with two walks and two strikeouts over the complete-game shutout for Pace (27-19), which extended its winning streak to 11 games. Saint Anselm (36-10-1) saw its school-record 13-game winning streak come to an end in its fifth appearance in the NE10 Tournament in the last six seasons. The only other time the Hawks were shut out this season was a 3-0 loss to the University of Mary back on Mar. 5 in Clermont, Fla.
The Setters, seeded No. 2 out of the Southwest Division, will face Adelphi University, the top seed out of the Southwest Division, in Saturday's title game after the Panthers rallied from 3-0 down to defeat Southern New Hampshire, 5-4 in eight innings, in the first semifinal of the day. The Hawks, who were the No. 1 seed from the Northeast Division, will await official word on an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament during Monday's 10 a.m. selection show, which airs on NCAA.com. Saint Anselm was the top seed in the East Region in this week's NCAA Regional Rankings.
After a 1-2-3 top of the first from sophomore Morgan Perry, the Hawks generated their best chance to score in the bottom of the inning, putting runners on second and third with one out. Amanda Bickford led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt before an Erin Thompson single left runners on the corners with one out. After Thompson stole second, Bernet got a pair of infield pop ups to escape the jam.
Perry pitched around one-out doubles in the second and third to match Bernet early, but Pace scored the game's only two runs in the top of the fourth. With one out, Aby Brambila walked and Lindsey Ah Soon singled through the left side to put runners on first and second. After Perry got the second out, Emma Schafer drove an RBI single up the middle to score Brambila and Ashley Lew followed with a single through the right side to score Ah Soon. Shannon Colson threw out Schafer at third on Lew's single to end the inning.
Freshman Courtney Fisher took over for Perry in the fifth and, after giving up a lead-off triple to Larissa Labs, retired the next three batters to keep it a 2-0 game. Saint Anselm got one-out walks in the fourth and fifth and a lead-off single by Maggie Murphy in the sixth but could not capitalize on them.
In the top of the seventh, Pace loaded the bases with nobody out on an error and a pair of singles, but Fisher again got out of the jam to keep her team in the game. Pinch hitter Lauren Washburn brought the tying run to the plate with a two-out single in Saint Anselm's final at-bat before Bernet got a foul out to first to end the game.
Perry suffered her first loss in 10 appearances since Mar. 31, allowing two runs in four innings. The sophomore is 19-4 on the season. Fisher surrendered three hits and no runs over the final three frames and was named to the All-Tournament Team following the game.
Lew and Labs combined for five of Pace's eight hits in the game. Lew was 3-for-3 with one RBI and Labs reached base three times, going 2-for-3 with a walk.