Purple Knights grab lead, turn triple play before dropping two to UMass Lowell

COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College softball team grabbed an early lead in game two of a doubleheader before turning a triple play but ended up being swept by the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, 13-0 in five innings and 8-1, on Tuesday in Northeast-10 Conference play at Doc Jacobs Field. The Purple and Gold is now 3-17 overall and 1-11 in the league, while the River Hawks improve to 21-8 and 11-4.

Sophomore Bethany Falls (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) and freshman Sarah Murray (Wallingford, Conn./Sheehan) each singled for the hosts, while junior Stephanie Frank (Essex, Vt./Essex) took the loss despite yielding just one earned run in three innings. She struck out four.

Freshman Courtney Lanfranchi (Burlington, Mass./Burlington) carried a perfect game into the fifth inning, settling for the two-hit shutout without walking or striking out a batter. Senior Meagan Guy (Berlin, Conn./Berlin) was 3-for-3 with four RBIs and a home run, and junior Krista MacKenzie (Ipswich, Mass./Ipswich) walked three times.

UMass Lowell manufactured its first-inning run, which stood up as the winner, as freshman Aly Greene (Tewksbury, Mass./Tewksbury) reached on a one-out error, stole two bases and scored when a batter swung at strike three in the dirt and the throw went to first base. Five runs scored in the third, with four coming home after a two-out error, and Guy's two-run home run was among a pair of two-run hits by the River Hawks during a six-run fourth.

Lanfranchi set down the first 12 batters before Murray led off the fifth by placing a single over the shortstop's head into shallow center field. Falls then singled, but the hurler induced a popup and a game-ending ground-ball double play.

In the nightcap, sophomore Brittany Regis (Monroe, N.H./Saint Johnsbury Academy) was 3-for-4, while Falls and sophomore Grace Bonaiuto (Beverly, Mass./Austin Preparatory School) each had two knocks. Frank suffered the complete-game loss, holding the visitors off the scoreboard until the fourth inning.

Eight of the River Hawks' 11 hits went for extra bases, including three home runs. Junior Ashley Daniels (Medford, Mass./Arlington Catholic) was 2-for-3 with two runs and a homer, senior Elyssa Boris (Gardner, Mass./Gardner) homered and earned the complete-game win, and senior Lindsi Panarelli (Shrewsbury, Mass./Shrewsbury) was 3-for-3.

Falls led off the second with an infield single before moving to third on a wild pitch and a sac bunt and coming home on junior Lindsay Houston's (Concord, N.H./Concord) groundout. The Purple Knights put a runner on in six of the seven frames, including the leadoff hitter reaching in each of the first five innings, but scored no further.

MacKenzie doubled and scored on an error in the fourth, and UMass Lowell was poised to take the lead after putting runners on first and second with no one out. However, a fly ball to Regis in center field started an atypical, inning-ending 8-6-2-5 triple play, with two River Hawk runners being caught between bases.

However, Daniels snapped the tie with a solo home run in the fifth, senior Caelyn Ford (Dracut, Mass./Dracut) went deep to add two runs in the sixth, and Boris' three-run shot highlighted a four-run seventh.

The Purple Knights host American International College for a Friday twinbill that begins at 2 p.m.