CLERMONT, Fla. – The nationally-ranked Saint Anselm College softball team split its two games on Wednesday. The Hawks rallied back from two runs to defeat Cedarville University, 5-2, in the first game while coming up short against the University of Southern Indiana in game two with a 2-1 defeat.
The Hawks, who are ranked 12th in the latest National Fastpitch Coaches' Association (NFCA) Division II Top 25 poll, sit at 10-4 on the season. The Yellow Jackets fall to 7-2 while the Screaming Eagles improve to 9-9 on the year.
The second game of the day was a rematch of the 2018 NCAA Division II Championship series, in which Southern Indiana won the national title.
Senior Jordan O'Connor (New Fairfield, Conn.) had four hits on the day to bring her career total to 100 at the Hilltop. She also drove in four runs in two games.
Against the Yellow Jackets, the game was tied 2-2 heading into the sixth inning. With the bases loaded and two away, junior Maggie Murphy (Scarborough, Maine) drove in the go-ahead runs with a single.
In the second game of the day, the Screaming Eagles held on for a one-run victory, thanks to the go-ahead run in the fourth inning on a solo home run by Lindsey Barr.
No. 12 Saint Anselm 5, Cedarville 2 | Box Score
Saint Anselm trailed by two runs before scoring five unanswered runs in the fifth and sixth innings.
The big inning was a three-run sixth for the Hawks as all of the run came with two outs. After freshman Kylie Fitzpatrick (Danville, N.H.) reached on a fielder's choice, Saint Anselm's next two batters reached via the walk to load the bases. Murphy singled to right field, driving in two runs, before moving to second on the throw. O'Connor hit a single to score junior Shannon Colson (Rochester, N.H.) from third.
The Yellow Jackets took a two-run lead after scoring a run in the third and fourth innings. Carrie Jespersen scored the first run after reaching on a one-out error in the third. Cedarville tacked on their second run after a leadoff triple by Sarah Parsons started the fourth inning. She came around to score on a groundout to make it 2-0.
The Hawks responded in the top of the fifth inning, tying the game at two. Back-to-back singles by sophomore Kaleigh Scoville (Scarborough, Maine) and Colson started the rally. O'Connor doubled to left field to score both runners to even the score.
Freshman McKenna Smith (Old Town, Maine) picked up her second career win, pitching three and two-thirds innings of relief. She did not allow a hit or walk and struck out two batters. O'Connor drove in three runs and had a pair of hits while Murphy also finished with two hits and drove in two runs. Scoville also finished the game with two hits.
Morgan Arbogast suffered the loss for the Yellow Jackets, pitching five and two-thirds innings, allowing all five runs on 10 hits and three walks. She had three strikeouts.
Southern Indiana 2, No. 12 Saint Anselm 1 | Box Score
Southern Indiana jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning. Claire Johnson reached on a fielder's choice before coming around to score on a sacrifice fly by Allison Schubert.
A solo shot in the fourth inning gave the Screaming Eagles a 2-0 lead. The Hawks cut the lead in half in the bottom of the fifth inning. Scoville singled with one out before moving up to second on another single. With two outs in the inning, O'Connor brought Scoville across the plate to make it 2-1 in favor of Southern Indiana.
The Hawks threatened in the bottom of the sixth inning with runners on second and third and just one out. However, Jennifer Leonhardt, the Most Outstanding Player Award recipient at last year's NCAA Championship, got the next two outs, including a strikeout to end the inning.
Saint Anselm had the tying run on base in the seventh inning but a line out to third ended the game. Leonhardt got the complete game victory, striking out six batters and allowing one run on 10 hits. Junior pitcher Morgan Perry (Bethany, Conn.) suffered the loss for the Hawks, going four full innings, allowing two runs on just three hits and finished with a walk and a strikeout. Sophomore Courtney Fisher (Taunton, Mass.) struck out two and allowed a pair of hits in three innings of relief.
The Hawks return to action on Friday, Mar. 8 for two more contests in Kissimmee, Fla. Game one is against Jefferson University at 9:15 a.m. and the second contest is against Wilmington (Del.) University at 11:30 a.m.