Perry, Colson lead softball past LIU Post in Super Regional opener

MANCHESTER, N.H. – Sophomore Morgan Perry earned her third victory in as many games and sophomore Shannon Colson drove in a pair of runs as the Saint Anselm College softball team won the opening game of its NCAA Division II Softball Championship East Super Regional against LIU Post, 3-1, on Thursday afternoon at South Athletic Fields.

Box Score | Highlights/Postgame Press Conference

Perry limited LIU Post (38-18) to one run on just four hits in a complete game, striking out eight with no walks for Saint Anselm (40-10-1) to add to her single-season school record win total. Colson knocked in her team's first two runs of the game with RBI singles in the first and third innings and Perry did the rest to improve to 22-4 on the season.

The two teams complete their best-of-three series on Friday, May 18 with the Hawks needing one win to advance to the finals in Salem, Virginia held May 24-28. The second game of the series is set for 1 p.m. on Friday with a deciding game at 3:30 p.m., if necessary.

Erin Thompson was 2-for-2 with two runs and Colson went 2-for-3 with two RBI as the pair were the lone hitters on either side with multiple hits. Senior Megan Murrell also drove in a run with a double in the fifth for Saint Anselm, while Abbey Fortin hit her 19th home run of the season for the lone Pioneer run of the afternoon.

After Perry struck out the side in the first, the Hawks mounted a threat as singles by Amanda Bickford and Thompson left runners on second and two outs for Colson. The sophomore sent a ground ball down the third-base line that skipped off the base, allowing Thompson to score. Bickford's single earlier in the inning stretched her hitting streak to seven-straight games.

The Hawks doubled their lead in the third when Colson dropped a single over a drawn in Breanna Kleiber at third and Maggie Murphy beat the throw home to score from second. Murphy was hit by a pitch to start the inning before moving up on a Thompson sacrifice bunt.

Perry retired 10 of the first 11 batters she faced, allowing just an Allie Laird bunt single to start the third prior to Fortin's one-out solo home run in the fourth. After the solo shot, the sophomore regrouped and allowed only two singles the rest of the way.

In the fifth, the Hawks added their to the lead when Murrell followed a Thompson single with an RBI double to deep left field. Murphy robbed Julia Seader of an extra-base hit with a leaping catch in deep left field in the sixth and Perry pitched around a leadoff single by Klaiber in the seventh to post her 11th win in her last 13 starts.

Katie Humhej pitched all six innings for LIU Post, allowing three runs on seven hits with a walk and two strikeouts. The loss dropped the sophomore to 19-10 this spring and was just her second in 17 appearances dating back to Apr. 10.

The game marked just the third all-time meeting between Saint Anselm and LIU Post in a series the Hawks now lead, 2-1. The Hawks, who have won both NCAA Tournament games against the Pioneers, have won 17 of their last 18 games and 27 of 30 since starting the season 13-7-1. Saint Anselm's four wins in the 2018 NCAA Division II Softball Championship have come by a combined six runs.