Nationally-ranked softball splits on first day in Florida

CLERMONT, Fla. – The nationally-ranked Saint Anselm College softball team split the first two games of its trip to Florida. The Hawks dropped their opening contest to Davenport University, 6-3, before defeating the University of Missouri-St. Louis 8-1 in the second contest of the day.

The Hawks, who entered the day ranked first in the latest National Fastpitch Coaches' Association (NFCA) Division II Top 25 poll, improve to 6-1 on the year. They became the first-ever varsity program at Saint Anselm to earn a number one ranking.

In the opener, Davenport (5-8) broke a 2-2 tie in the sixth inning to take the first game thanks to a two-run double by Alexa Flores.

In game two, the Hawks scored three runs in the first inning and never looked back, cruising to the 8-1 final against the Tritons (5-11). Sophomore pitcher Courtney Fisher (Taunton, Mass.) went the distance, allowing just one earned run on six hits while striking out three batters and issuing zero walks. Senior Jordan O'Connor (New Fairfield, Conn.) and sophomore Kat Stackrow (Wynantskill, N.Y.) each drove in two runs in the game.

Davenport 6, No. 1 Saint Anselm Box Score

The Panthers broke a 2-2 tie in the sixth inning with a two-run double by Flores. The first batter reached on a single to start the inning, before the next reached on an error. Both runners moved to second and third on passed ball, before Flores doubled to right field to put Davenport up 4-2.

The Hawks struck for a pair of runs in the first inning. After loading the bases with the first three batters of the inning, sophomore Maddison Leite (Cumberland, R.I.) reached on an infield single, scoring junior Maggie Murphy (Scarborough, Maine). Junior Erin Thompson (Newton, N.H.) came around to score on a squeeze play executed by O'Connor to make it 2-0 in favor of Saint Anselm.

The Panthers cut the lead in half on a solo home run in the top of the second as Abby Merice sent a the ball to center field.

The Hawks escaped a jam in the third inning but the Panthers got the tying run using the long ball again in the fourth. Flores led off the inning with a home run to center to make it 2-2.

Mallory Teunissen settled down after the first inning for Davenport. She silenced the Hawks bats, retiring 13-straight batters after a two-out single in the second. 

After the Panthers added two runs in the seventh to build a 6-2 lead, O'Connor hit the first pitch she saw in the bottom of the seventh over the wall, cutting the lead in half.

Junior pitcher Morgan Perry (Bethany, Conn.) suffered her first loss of the season. She went five innings, allowing four runs (three earned), on seven hits while striking out three batters. Teunissen picked up the win for the Panthers, striking out six batters and allowing three runs over seven innings.

No. 1 Saint Anselm 8, Missouri – St. Louis 1 Box Score

Just like in the opening game, the Hawks scored in the first inning. After loading the bases with a single and a pair of walks, the Hawks took a 2-0 lead on a two-out single by O'Connor to plate junior Shannon Colson (Rochester, N.H.) and Thompson. Sophomore Lauren Washburn (Carmichael, Calif.) drove in a run of her own with a single to center field for a 3-0 Saint Anselm lead.

The Tritons scored their lone run in the bottom of the first inning, taking advantage of an error. With one out and the bases loaded, Lizzy Miller lined a ball to center field to make it 3-1 in favor of the Hawks.

That was the only blemish that Fisher had on the day as she only allowed three hits for the rest of the game.

Saint Anselm added two runs in the fourth and three runs in the seventh to take an 8-1 lead. In the fourth inning, the bases were loaded again with one out and Leite was walked on five pitches to make it 4-1, before Colson came around to score to make it 5-1. 

Stackrow added a pair of runs in the seventh, driving in Murphy and O'Connor with a one-out double, before scoring on a sacrifice fly by freshman Bailey Cain (Wellington, Fla.). Tiffee Andee took the loss, scattering five runs on seven hits and seven strikeouts. She also issued four walks.

The Hawks play the 2017 national champion Mavericks from Minnesota State University on Saturday, March 2 for a single game at 1:45 p.m.