Softball uses long ball to sweep New Haven in doubleheader

Softball uses long ball to sweep New Haven in doubleheader

MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Saint Anselm College softball team snapped a four-game losing skid to the Chargers from the University of New Haven, earning a sweep on Saturday afternoon in a Northeast-10 Conference cross-divisional doubleheader. The Hawks rallied in game one with a 7-2 victory before taking the second game by a 2-1 margin.

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Saint Anselm improves to 19-7 overall and 7-1 against NE10 opponents while the Chargers fall to 15-10 overall and 10-3 in league action. The Hawks hit three home runs over the two games.

In game one, the Hawks trailed 2-0 heading into the bottom of the third inning. However, sophomore Lauren Washburn (Carmichael, Calif.) drove in two runs and classmate Abbie Murrell (Scarborough, Maine) hit a two-run blast to left center field for a five-run inning. Junior Morgan Perry (Bethany, Conn.) had nine strikeouts in a complete game effort, earning her 40th victory in a Hawks uniform, while allowing two runs. She moves to fifth all-time in Hawks history with 343 career strikeouts, eclipsing the mark of 337 set by Courtney Marden '98.

The second game was similar to game one as Saint Anselm trailed by a run heading into the fourth inning. However, the long ball was the difference again as senior Jordan O'Connor (New Fairfield, Conn.) sent a ball over the left field wall for the go-ahead runs. Sophomore pitcher Courtney Fisher (Taunton, Mass.) improved to 6-0 on the year in five innings of work while freshman McKenna Smith (Old Town, Maine) continued to dazzle during her rookie year, going three innings in relief and striking out seven batters for her third save of the season.

O'Connor finished the day with exactly 300 career assists, setting up five Hawks outs in Saturday's doubleheader. She trails the all-time leader, Nicole Boucher '14, by 52 assists.

Saint Anselm 7, New Haven 2 Box Score

After a pair of shutout innings posted by both starting pitchers, the Chargers struck for two runs in the third inning. A one-out walk to Catherine Vaughan started the rally, before she came across on a two-out single by Mya Case. After Case stole second, she scored on a single to right center off the bat of Taylor Luzzi to give New Haven a 2-0 edge.

That would be all the Chargers could get against Perry and the Hawks as the home team put up five runs in the home half of the third.

After freshman Bailey Cain (Wellington, Fla.) reached on a fielder's choice and moved to second on single by junior Shannon Colson (Rochester, N.H.), junior Maggie Murphy (Scarborough, Maine) doubled to left, scoring Cain from second. Washburn came up with a hard single down the right field line, scoring both Colson and Murphy to give the Hawks a 3-2 lead. After a fielder's choice put O'Connor on base, Murrell lined a pitch just over the left center field fence to make it 5-2 in favor of the Hawks.

Perry retired five of the next six batters, before Saint Anselm added single runs in the fifth and sixth. Murphy belted an opposite field home run to left center to make it 6-2, before sophomore Maddison Leite (Cumberland, R.I.) drove in freshman pinch-runner Kylie Fitzpatrick (Danville, N.H.) with one out in the sixth.

The Chargers got a baserunner on in the seventh but Perry got the final batter to look at strike three to end the game. Megan Butts suffered her first loss of the season in five and a third innings pitched. She allowed seven runs on 11 hits and had just one strikeout. Murphy had a three-hit day and was a triple away from the cycle. She also scored twice and drove in two runs.

Saint Anselm 2, New Haven 1 Box Score

After three scoreless innings to start the game, the Chargers again took the first lead of the contest. A single by Luzzi began the frame, before she moved to second on a single by Rachel Crafts. Both advanced on a delayed steal, before Melissa Bike drove in Luzzi giving New Haven a 1-0 lead.

The Hawks again responded in the home half of the fourth. A leadoff double that bounced off the fence by Washburn started the rally. O'Connor followed up with a blast to left field to put the hosts ahead 2-1. 

New Haven threatened in the fifth inning. A leadoff single by Vanessa Strohm chased Fisher from the game. After a passed ball and a walk put runners on first and second with no outs, Smith got the next three batters to look at strike three and end the threat.

Smith allowed just one hit which came in the seventh, and ended the game with a ground out to third.

Washburn and Leite each had two hits in the contest while O'Connor drove in the only two runs in the contest. Ava Fitzmaurice went six innings and allowed just two runs on six hits and a walk while taking the loss for New Haven.

The Hawks are back in action on Sunday with a doubleheader against the Owls from Southern Connecticut State University at the South Athletic Fields. Game one is set to begin at 12 p.m.