MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Saint Anselm College softball team battled the top-ranked team in the East Region, Southern New Hampshire University, on Wednesday and handed the visiting Penmen back-to-back losses at the South Athletic Fields.
Saint Anselm eked out a 2-1 victory in the opening game before earning a walk-off win in game two, 4-3. The Penmen entered the day ranked 13th in NCAA Division II by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division II Top 25 poll and were atop the official East Region rankings released by the NCAA on Wednesday. Saint Anselm was listed fourth in the East Region rankings revealed earlier in the day.
The Hawks improve to 28-8 overall on the season, having won all but two of their 18 games against Northeast-10 Conference opponents. The Penmen had not been swept in a doubleheader this season and fall to 32-8 overall and to 16-3 against league foes.
Junior Morgan Perry (Bethany, Conn.) moved into sole possession of third place in program history with her 46th career win in the circle, passing current assistant coach Tayla Trask '15. Senior Jordan O'Connor (New Fairfield, Conn.) also cracked the top-10 list for career games played, seeing action in her 162nd and 163rd games on Wednesday.
In game one, it was a pitcher's duel between Perry and Maddy Barone. After four complete scoreless innings, the Hawks finally broke through in the fifth inning with two runs, thanks to a RBI double by freshman Bailey Cain (Wellington, Fla.) and a two-out single by junior Shannon Colson (Rochester, N.H.).
In the second game, the Hawks struck for a run in the first before adding two more in the fifth. However, the Penmen knotted things up in the sixth with a RBI double and a two-run blast. That set up an exciting seventh inning for the Hawks, where junior Maggie Murphy (Scarborough, Maine) drove in the game-winning run with one out to seal the victory.
Saint Anselm 2, No. 13 Southern N.H. 1 | Box Score
Both teams threatened in the first inning as the Penmen put two runners on base with back-to-back two-out singles, but Perry got a routine ground out to second to end the threat. The Hawks put a pair of runners on in Colson and Murphy to start the inning, but Barone settled down, getting a pop up, a strikeout, and a ground out to end the inning.
Saint Anselm broke through in the fifth. After a leadoff single by sophomore Abbie Murrell (Scarborough, Maine), sophomore Maddison Leite (Cumberland, R.I.) pushed freshman pinch-runner Kate Irwin (Milford, Mass.) to second with a sacrifice bunt. Cain followed up with a double to deep center field before coming around to score on a single to center by Colson.
Through this span, Perry had retired 18 batters in a row. However, with two outs in the seventh inning, Emily Carbonneau and Chloe Griffin walked. Pinch-runner Logan Filo-Loos scored on a two-out single by Shay Sauvageau to cut the lead in half. Perry locked in and got the final out on a fly out to left field.
Perry finished with six strikeouts and allowed just one run on three hits. Barone suffered the tough loss for the Penmen, fanning three batters and allowing two runs on five hits without a free pass.
Saint Anselm 4, No. 13 Southern N.H. 3 | Box Score
Game two started out the right way for the Hawks as a one-out double by Murphy came back to hurt the Penmen. Sophomore Lauren Washburn (Carmichael, Calif.) grounded out to second but the speedy Murphy kept running as she saw the ball bobbled by the second basemen, scoring all the way from second.
Saint Anselm added two more runs in the fifth following a leadoff single by freshman Kylie Fitzpatrick (Danville, N.H.). With two outs, Fitzpatrick moved over on a wild pitch and scored after Murphy reached on a fielding error by the third baseman. Washburn drove in Murphy on the next play with a single to right center.
The Penmen would not go quietly, however. A double to start the sixth by Emily Critch chased sophomore starter Courtney Fisher (Taunton, Mass.) from the game. After freshman McKenna Smith (Old Towne, Maine) got a ground out, Jordan Wade double to score Critch, before Carbonneau hit a deep shot to left center to tie the game at three.
The Hawks tried to end things in the home half of the sixth but stranded a runner at second. After Smith got through the seventh, the stage was set for Saint Anselm to walk off. Colson reached on a fielder's choice before advancing on a wild pitch. Murphy drove a Penmen offering through the right side to score Colson from second.
Fisher got the no-decision in five innings of work, allowing just one run on four hits. Smith earned her fifth win of the season in two innings of work with a strikeout.
Ali Atherton took the loss for the Penmen in one-and-one-third innings of relief.
The Hawks have a quick turnaround as they host the Greyhounds from Assumption College on Thursday, Apr. 18 at 4 p.m. The game was originally scheduled for Monday, Apr. 22.