PREVIEW: No. 20 softball to meet SNHU in East Region fixture

PREVIEW: No. 20 softball to meet SNHU in East Region fixture

MANCHESTER, N.H. – The nationally-ranked and top-seeded Saint Anselm College softball team advanced to the winner's bracket of the NCAA Division II East 1 Regional pod and will take on cross-town rival and the fifth-seed Southern New Hampshire University in game three of the double-elimination tournament. First pitch is set for 10 a.m. at the South Athletic Fields.

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SCOUTING SAINT ANSELM

  • The Hawks enter the contest ranked 20th in NCAA Division II, according to the most recent National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division II Top 25 Poll and are the top-seed in this regional. Saint Anselm was the top-ranked team in the country earlier this season, a first for a varsity program at the Hilltop to earn such distinction.
  • Saint Anselm is riding a 13-game winning streak and holds a 38-8 overall record, earning the automatic bid by virtue of winning their first-ever Northeast-10 Conference championship in program history.
  • It is the fourth trip to the NCAA Championship for the Hawks, who are now 11-7 (.611) overall in the tournament. They are led by sixth-year head coach and Jill Gagnon, who earned her second-straight NE10 Coach of the Year award and now has 163 career wins at the Hilltop and is the all-time leader in coaching victories.
  • Saint Anselm's pitching staff has been one of the best in the nation, boasting a 1.43 earned run average and strikeout-to-walk ratio of 5.51. The staff has 320 strikeouts. 
  • Junior Morgan Perry (Bethany, Conn.), who was the unanimous NE10 Pitcher of the Year and was also named the Division II Conference Commissioner Association (D2CCA) East Region Pitcher of the Year, has a 23-5 record in 30 starts with 20 complete games to this point. She has 209 strikeouts and an earned run average of 1.37.
  • Perry became the fourth student-athlete in program history to record at least 400 career strikeouts and now has 443 in just three years.
  • Sophomore pitcher Courtney Fisher (Taunton, Mass.), an NE10 Third Team honoree, has posted a 10-0 record in 15 starts in the circle with 25 appearances. She has 49 strikeouts and has issued just 11 walks.
  • Offensively, the Hawks have scored 209 runs and a batting average of .292 along with 22 home runs. The team has swiped 54 bases as well and has an on-base percentage of .350.
  • Junior Shannon Colson (Rochester, N.H.), a NE10 First Team and NE10 Championship All-Tournament Team selection, leads the team in batting average (.369), stolen bases (21), on-base percentage (.422) and hits (58). She has also driven in 14 runs and is second on the team in runs scored with 33. She currently holds the school record with 69 stolen bases. She was also named to the D2CCA First Team along with Perry.
  • Freshman Kylie Fitzpatrick (Danville, N.H), who was named NE10 Defensive Player of the Year, has played in 34 games for the Hawks, primarily at second base. She has an average of .307 and has driven in 10 runs while scoring 11 times. She has not committed an error to date.
  • Senior Jordan O'Connor (New Fairfield, Conn.) currently leads the team with 34 RBI's and has an average of .341 while slugging a team-high .514. She has nine doubles and five home runs and has scored 25 times. She was a NE10 Second Team selection. She has played in 173 career games to this point in her time at the Hilltop.
  • Sophomore Lauren Washburn (Carmichael, Calif.) earned her first selection to the NE10 Third Team, after posting a .333 batting average and driven in 31 runs. She has eight doubles and has struck out just nine times in 135 at-bats.
  • Junior Maggie Murphy (Scarborough, Maine) collected Second Team All-Conference honors following a campaign where she has hit .322 and leads the team with 14 doubles and 36 runs scored. She is second on the team in stolen bases with 16 and driven in 19 runs to date.
  • Sophomore Maddison Leite (Cumberland, R.I.) has had a breakout year to this point, leading the team with six home runs. She has a 19 RBI's and scored 21 runs with a batting average of .252.
  • Freshman McKenna Smith (Old Town, Maine) has six saves, which is third among all of Division II, and has 62 strikeouts to just 13 walks.

SCOUTING SOUTHERN N.H. 

  • The Penmen are in the midst of their sixth NCAA Tournament appearance with a 37-13 record to this point. Southern New Hampshire is receiving votes in the NFCA Top 25 coaches' poll and opened the regional with a 4-2 victory over Georgian Court on Thursday.
  • Southern New Hampshire's 1.25 earned run average is one of the nation's best in all of Division II. Junior Maddy Barone has a 1.23 ERA with a 19-6 record in 28 starts to lead the Penmen pitching staff. She has 177 strikeouts and has issued just 31 free passes with 22 complete games. Sophomore Olivia Strasser posted a 14-3 record with 12 complete games. She has logged a 1.28 earned run average and has 56 strikeouts to 24 walks to this point.
  • The offense has been led by NE10 Player of the Year senior Erin Garczynski. She slashed a line of .428/.480/.678 in 50 games while driving in 32 runs and scoring 30 times. She also had a team-high 18 doubles along with six home runs.
  • Freshman Emily Carbonneau has a team-high 10 home runs and 35 RBI's to date. Sophomore Emily Critch has six long balls and driven in 16 runs while scoring 21 times.
  • Currently in her 14th season at the helm, head coach Deb Robitaille has posted a 377-248 record with the Penmen.

ALL-TIME vs. SOUTHERN N.H.: The Penmen hold an all-time series lead of 44-40 against Saint Anselm. However, the Hawks swept the season series this year and have won five of the last six games against Southern New Hampshire. Saint Anselm won a pair at home earlier this year, and wrapped up the series with a 3-1 win on Apr. 23 to clinch the NE10 regular season title. The two teams met in last year's NCAA Division II East Regional with the Hawks coming out on top with a 3-1 win.