Nationally-ranked softball sweeps on first day in Myrtle Beach

Nationally-ranked softball sweeps on first day in Myrtle Beach

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – The nationally-ranked Saint Anselm College softball team opened the 2019 season with a pair of victories on Friday, taking down Kutztown University by a 11-5 score in the first game before defeating Lock Haven University, 5-4, in game two.

The Hawks (2-0), who entered the game nationally-ranked by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division II Top 25 Preseason Poll, rallied from four runs down against the Bears (1-4) in game one. Freshman McKenna Smith (Old Town, Maine) followed in the second game with an inning and a third in relief to register her first career win against a Lock Haven (0-2) team that made it to the NCAA Tournament a year ago.

No. 4 Saint Anselm 11, Kutztown 5 | Box Score 

In the opener, Saint Anselm rallied in the sixth inning, scoring five runs which was highlighted by a two-run double by junior Erin Thompson (Newton, N.H.).

Kutztown broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth inning, scoring three times to take a 4-1 lead. However, the Hawks banged out five in the sixth inning to take the lead.

Junior Kaleigh Scoville (Scarborough, Maine) started the sixth with a single, followed by a double by classmate Maggie Murphy (Scarborough, Maine) to put runners on second and third. Thompson brought the Hawks to within a run with a double down the left field line. After a pair of walks loaded the bases, senior Jordan O'Connor (New Fairfield, Conn.) tied the game after being hit with a pitch with two outs. A wild pitch and an error on the catcher brought in the go-ahead runs to cap off the rally.

Kutztown put a run on the scoreboard in the bottom half of the first inning. After a one-out single, Katelyn Ostaszewski came around to score on a double by Jenna Lipowski to give the Bears a 1-0 advantage.

The Hawks tied the game in the fifth inning with some timely two-out hitting. O'Connor reached second with a two-out double. Sophomore Kat Stackrow (Wynantskill, N.Y.) brought her across the plate with a single.

The Hawks added to its lead in the seventh, scoring five runs all with two outs. With runners on first and second, sophomore Maddison Leite (Cumberland, R.I.) doubled to score Murphy and make it 7-4. Another run made it 8-4, before O'Connor cleared the bases, with the Bears center fielder misplaying the ball, to make it 11-4.

Kutztown made things interesting in the bottom of the seventh. Back-to-back two-out singles put runners on base. A wild pitch advanced them to second and third, before a single by Cheyenne Jones made it 11-5 in favor of the Hawks. However, junior pitcher Morgan Perry (Bethany, Conn.) closed out the game striking out the final batter with the bases left loaded.

Perry went a full seven innings, allowing five runs on 11 hits. She finished the game with seven strikeouts. Bailey took the complete game loss, giving up 11 runs (seven earned) on nine hits and five walks. She fanned five batters.

Murphy and Thompson each had two hits and scored twice for the Hawks in the first game. Junior Shannon Colson (Rochester, N.H.) came across the plate twice.

No. 4 Saint Anselm 5, Lock Haven 4 | Box Score 

In the second game, it was a three-run blast by Leite in the third inning that put the Hawks ahead early in the game. With one out in the inning, Stackrow reached on an infield single before a walk was issued to Thompson. Leite sent a shot to center field, giving Saint Anselm a 3-0 lead. 

Saint Anselm added a run in the fifth inning on a sacrifice fly by Colson to make it 4-0.

Hawks sophomore Courtney Fisher (Taunton, Mass.) retired the next seven batters she faced before a one-out single by Madison Mathes put a runner on. After a pinch-runner entered the game, Traci Kromko singled to center, moving Mathes to third and advancing to second on the throw. A passed ball scored Mathes to make it 4-1 in favor of the Hawks.

The Bald Eagles tied the game in the sixth thanks to a three-run homer by Casey Carpenter to center field with one out. Lock Haven threatened with the bases loaded after Smith walked back-to-back hitters. However, she got the final two outs with a pair of swinging strikeouts.

The Hawks regained the lead in the seventh for good. A leadoff walk started the inning to Murphy. She moved to second, before advancing to third on a single by freshman Kate Irwin (Milford, Mass.). Murphy came across to score following an infield single by Colson for the go-ahead run.

Smith earned her first win of her career, striking out four batters without allowing a hit in one and a third innings pitched in relief. Bekah Slattery took the loss for the Bald Eagles in three innings of relief. Both starting pitchers received the no-decision.

Saint Anselm plays two more on Saturday, Feb. 16. The Hawks face Slippery Rock at 10 a.m. and Shippensburg at noon.