Frank, Houston highlight offensive efforts in doubleheader sweep at hands of Assumption

COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College softball team saw rallies fall short in each contest of a doubleheader sweep at the hands of second-place Assumption College on Monday, as it fell, 7-3 and 12-8, during Northeast-10 Conference play at Doc Jacobs Field. The Purple Knights are 5-19 overall and 3-13 in the league, while the Greyhounds stretched their winning streak to eight upon improving to 20-9 and 13-3. Saint Michael's averaged 3.5 earned runs on the day against a team that was leading the NE-10 with a 1.99 earned run average.

In the opener, the hosts trailed by six before plating two in the sixth inning. Junior Lindsay Houston (Concord, N.H./Concord) went 3-for-3 with three RBIs and two doubles, while freshman Sarah Murray (Wallingford, Conn./Sheehan) was 2-for-3 with a run and a double. Sophomore Lauren McCormack (Natick, Mass./Natick) took the loss before junior Lauren Mercik (Suffield, Conn./Suffield) yielded one run in 2.1 innings of relief.

Junior Melissa Jalbert (Gardner, Mass./Gardner) was 3-for-4 for Assumption, while freshman Jess DiPilato (Worcester, Mass./Holy Name) had two hits and scored twice. Senior Jennifer Lowrey (Assonet, Mass./Apponequet) struck out eight, but the Purple Knights plated three earned runs against the league leader in ERA (1.45) entering the day while walking twice against a hurler who had issues nine free passes in 87 innings.

Jalbert's third-inning RBI single put the visitors on top before three runs scored in the fourth. Houston's RBI knock in the home half put Saint Michael's on the board, but Assumption scored two more in the fifth and one in the sixth, making it 7-1. Houston roped a two-out, two-run double in the bottom portion, but Lowrey set down four of the final five hitters.

In game two, junior Stephanie Frank (Essex, Vt./Essex) went 3-for-4 with two runs and five RBIs, missing the cycle by a triple. Murray scored three times, and sophomore Bethany Falls (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) had two hits and two runs. Frank fanned four but took the loss, and Mercik tossed a shutout inning of relief.

Senior Marissa Palumbo (Worcester, Mass./Holy Name) was 3-for-4 with five RBIs for the Greyhounds, sophomore Nikki Boris (Gardner, Mass./Gardner) went 3-for-4 with three runs and three RBIs, and classmate Tanya Robidoux (Hooksett, N.H./Manchester Central) homered. Senior Chelsea Durso (Salem, N.H./Salem) yielded four earned runs in 4.1 innings for the win, striking out five.

Boris and Palumbo drove in first-inning runs before Boris' two-run single keyed a five-run second, and Assumption quickly led 7-0. However, the Purple Knights got two back in the second, including one on junior Brittany Cantore's (Saint Johnsbury, Vt./Saint Johnsbury Academy) squeeze, and Frank's two-run double in the third produced a 7-5 margin.

Palumbo unloaded the bases with a three-run double during a five-run fourth, but Frank drilled a long three-run home run to left field in the fifth, cutting the Saint Michael's deficit to 12-8. However, sophomore Jenn Lattal (Windsor, Conn./Windsor) relieved Durso following the dinger and retired eight of the 10 batters she faced.

The Purple Knights travel for the next four doubleheaders, beginning on Wednesday at Bentley University at 3 p.m.