NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. - The Saint Michael's College softball team opened a three-game season series with nationally-regarded Merrimack College by being swept in a doubleheader, 8-0 in six innings and 5-2, on Saturday at Martone-Mejail Field. The Purple Knights are 6-16 overall and 3-9 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while the Warriors, who are receiving votes toward this week's National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) national poll, are 24-8 and 11-5. Sunday's originally scheduled third game has been postponed to a date to be determined.
Junior Hayley Craddock (Campbell River, British Columbia/Carihi Secondary School/Highline) picked up a hit in the opener, while senior Danielle Brown (Vergennes, Vt./Vergennes Union) allowed five runs on six hits in five innings. She matched Megan O'Connor '09 for third in program history with 464.1 career innings pitched. Senior Chandler Wilder (Beverly, Mass./Bishop Fenwick) laid down her 28th career sacrifice bunt, tying Catherine Bourque's '04 school record.
For Merrimack, which has now won seven of eight games and was a 2017 NCAA Tournament qualifier, senior Megan Cook not only went 2-for-3 with three RBIs but also spun a one-hit shutout, striking out six and walking two. Junior Hannah Johnson was 2-for-3 with two runs, an RBI and a triple, and sophomore Tiffany Mangiameli scored three runs.
Craddock led off the game with a single before Wilder walked, but Cook set down the next three Purple Knights, beginning a run of retiring 18 of the final 21 hitters. Cook's two-out RBI single staked her to a lead in the home half of the first inning. Sophomore Aleksandra Apkarian (Butler, N.J./Butler) was hit by a pitch to begin the third and moved to second with two down on Wilder's sacrifice before being stranded. Senior Alyssa Williamson's sacrifice fly pushed the lead to 2-0 in the bottom half.
Cook's two-out, two-run single keyed a three-run fifth before Saint Michael's left two on in the sixth, and the hosts invoked the run rule with three more runs in the bottom portion of the frame.
Junior Fallon Tierney (Reading, Mass./Reading Memorial) finished 2-for-3 with a run in the nightcap, moving into the top 20 in program history with 77 career hits, while Wilder had a hit and scored. Sophomore Torie Rathwell (Guilderland, N.Y./Guilderland) doubled and drove in a run while taking the loss, yielding four earned runs, striking out four and walking none.
Cook finished off a 13-inning day in the circle with a five-hitter, as just one run was earned. She struck out four and walked no one while also going 2-for-3 with a run, an RBI and a triple at the plate. First-year Abigail Amato was 2-for-3 with a run, an RBI and a double, and Williamson finished 2-for-3 with a run.
Johnson's second triple of the twinbill scored Amato in the third inning before Johnson came home on an error, and Amato's RBI double pushed the lead to 3-0 in the third. Cook tripled home Williamson before scoring in the fifth, and Saint Michael's countered in the sixth, as Wilder scored on a two-out error and Tierney crossed the plate on Rathwell's RBI double. Apkarian singled with two down in the seventh, but the visitors never brought the tying run to the plate.
The Purple Knights are slated to visit Saint Anselm College on Wednesday for a 3 p.m. doubleheader.