NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. - The Saint Michael's College softball team left the tying run on base in the seventh inning of a 5-3 loss to nationally-regarded Merrimack College on Tuesday evening at Martone-Mejail Field. The Purple Knights are 6-17 overall and 3-10 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while the Warriors are 25-8 and 12-5. Merrimack received votes toward last week's National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) national poll.
In the finale of a three-game season series that began on Saturday, sophomore Torie Rathwell (Guilderland, N.Y./Guilderland) was 3-for-4 with an RBI and a triple while tossing two innings of no-hit, shutout relief. Junior Hayley Craddock (Campbell River, British Columbia/Carihi Secondary School/Highline) finished 2-for-4, and senior Chandler Wilder (Beverly, Mass./Bishop Fenwick) singled and scored while dropping her 29th career sacrifice bunt, breaking a tie for the school record with Catherine Bourque '04. It was Wilder's 13th of the season, one shy of matching another program mark.
Senior Danielle Brown (Vergennes, Vt./Vergennes Union) and sophomore Katie Terban (Georgetown, Mass./Saint Mary's) both doubled, with Brown also taking the loss after yielded two earned runs in four innings. Sophomore Aleksandra Apkarian (Butler, N.J./Butler) walked and was hit by her school-record-tying fifth pitch this spring.
Senior Alyssa Williamson batted 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI for Merrimack, junior Caitlin McBride was 2-for-3 with a run, and sophomore Tiffany Mangiameli scored twice. Senior Megan Cook, the NCAA East Region leader in winning percentage thanks to her 17-2 record, finished off her third complete game of the series, scattering nine hits while allowing one earned run. She struck out 10 and walked one.
Craddock and junior Fallon Tierney (Reading, Mass./Reading Memorial) both singled in the first inning before Apkarian was plunked to load the bases with two down, but Cook got the final batter on a comebacker to the circle, the first of seven straight hitters she set down.
Merrimack broke through with four runs in the third inning, with three unearned. Junior Nicole Nanof's squeeze plated classmate Hannah Johnson with the go-ahead run before Williamson had one of three RBI singles in the frame. Saint Michael's saw two runners come across on passed balls in the top of the fourth to halve the deficit, as junior pinch runner Anna Meusel (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxboro Regional) and sophomore pinch runner Sarah Wight (Hingham, Mass./Hingham) both came home. Nanof's RBI double pushed the lead to 5-2 in the bottom half, but eight of the final nine Warriors were retired.
Craddock and Rathwell both singled in the fifth, and the Purple Knights brought tying the run to the plate with two down, when Cook induced an inning-ending line drive to right field. Brown's double came with two out in the scoreless sixth, but Wilder singled before scoring on Rathwell's two-out triple in the seventh. Apkarian walked to bring the go-ahead run to the plate, but Cook got the final batter looking at strikes.
The Purple Knights visit Saint Anselm College tomorrow for a 3 p.m. doubleheader.