No. 4 softball moves to 5-0 to start the year

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – The nationally-ranked Saint Anselm College softball team swept its final two games in Myrtle Beach on Sunday afternoon, defeating Goldey-Beacom College, 5-2, in the first game. The Hawks followed up with a thrilling 3-2 win over West Virginia State University in the second game of the day.

The Hawks, who entered play ranked fourth by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division II Top 25 Preseason Poll, are now 5-0 on the year. The Lighting fall to 0-4 while the Yellow Jackets drop to 6-3.

Sophomore Maddison Leite (Cumberland, R.I.) highlighted game one with a pair of home runs against the Lightning. Senior Jordan O'Connor (New Fairfield, Conn.) also hit a solo shot in the win against Goldey-Beacom.

Against the Yellow Jackets, junior Maggie Murphy (Scarborough, Maine) drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out double to right center field in the seventh inning.

No. 4 Saint Anselm 5, Goldey-Beacom 2 Box Score

Sophomore pitcher Courtney Fisher (Taunton, Mass.) had a strong start to pick up her first win of the year. She went the distance and had four strikeouts and no walks while allowing two runs on five hits.

Both teams stranded runners on first and second in the opening inning However, the second inning was the difference. O'Connor hit her first home run of the season and fourth of her career to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead.

However, the lead was short lived. The Lightning pushed two runs across in the top of the third inning to take the lead. Kasey Goshorn drove in both runs with a one-out single through the right side of the infield. Goldey-Beacom loaded the bases but could not take advantage as Fisher got an inning-ending double play to end the threat.

The Hawks responded and tied the game in the bottom half of the inning thanks to a solo shot by Leite. 

Saint Anselm went to take the lead in the fourth inning, scoring a pair of runs. A leadoff single by sophomore Lauren Washburn (Carmichael, Calif.) started the rally. Freshman pinch-runner Kate Irwin (Milford, Mass.) stole second, before scoring Murphy reached on an error. After Murphy stole second, she came across on a single to right field by junior Erin Thompson (Newton, N.H.)

Leite made it 5-2 in the fifth with her second homer of the day to lead off the inning. Fisher dominated the final four innings. After the two runs in the third, she retired 11 straight batters, including 13 of the last 14 she faced in the game. Taylor Beres suffered the loss for the Lightning. She went six innings, allowing five runs (three earned) on 12 hits while walking three. She had three strikeouts. 

No. 4 Saint Anselm 3, West Virginia State 2 Box Score

With the game tied at two heading into the seventh, sophomore pinch-hitter Brianna Burley (Center Barnstead, N.H.) drew a walk, before junior Kaleigh Scoville (Scarborough, Maine) returned to the lineup as a pinch-runner. Murphy drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out double to right center field.

Junior pitcher Morgan Perry (Bethany, Conn.) retired the last seven batters she faced, including getting the last two to strikeout swinging, to improve to 3-0 on the year. She finished the day with seven strikeouts while allowing two runs on five hits. She did not issue a free pass in the game.

After a pair of scoreless innings to start the game, the Hawks threatened in the top of the third inning, loading the bases with two outs. However, Yellow Jackets starter Emily Moore got a ground out to end the threat.

The Hawks were able to break through the following inning as they took a 2-0 lead thanks to a two-run double by sophomore Kat Stackrow (Wynantskill, N.Y.). After junior Shannon Colson (Rochester, N.H.) reached on a fielding error and O'Connor singled, Stackrow ripped a double down the right field line to score both runners.

The Yellow Jackets cut the lead in half in the home half of the fourth inning, before tying the game at two in the fifth. In the fourth inning, Brittany Allison started the frame being hit by a pitch, before advancing on a sacrifice bunt. She scored on a double by Paige Scruggs. In the fifth inning, Danielle Lebsock doubled before moving to third on an error on the same play. She crossed the plate on a single by Kayleigh Thompson to make it 2-2.

Moore took the loss for West Virginia State going the distance. She had four strikeouts while giving up three runs (two earned) on five hits and a walk.

Saint Anselm returns north to play four games next weekend in North Andover, Mass. on the campus of Northeast-10 Conference foe Merrimack College. The Hawks will begin the four-game swing with a double-header against Queens (N.Y.) University on Saturday, Feb. 23. First pitch of game one is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Martone-Mejail Field.