Saint Michael's softball takes lead on SNHU, falls twice during NE-10 doubleheader

COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College softball team kicked off a season-ending three-doubleheader homestand by falling twice to Southern New Hampshire University, 4-2 and 11-2 in five innings, on Wednesday at Doc Jacobs Field. The Purple Knights are 5-29 overall and 3-23 in the Northeast-10 Conference, having led the Penmen in the opener, while the visitors improved to 25-15 and 15-9.

Sophomore Amanda Brigante (Colchester, Vt./Colchester) was 2-for-3 in game one for Saint Michael's, freshman Sarah Murray (Wallingford, Conn./Sheehan) doubled, and junior Brittany Cantore (Saint Johnsbury, Vt./Saint Johnsbury Academy) drove in a run. Classmate Stephanie Frank (Essex, Vt./Essex) took the loss after yielding four earned runs in a complete-game effort. She struck out two and walked one.

Junior Kelsea Cheney (Abington, Mass./Abington) was 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a home run for Southern New Hampshire, while classmates Jessica Douillette (Concord, N.H./Concord) and Kate Stanley (Kingston, Mass./Silver Lake Regional) each had three hits. Freshman Ali Maloof (Norwood, Mass./Norwood) allowed one earned run on five hits over seven frames for the win.

The Purple Knights struck for a pair of runs in the second inning to snap a scoreless tie, as Cantore singled Frank home with one down, and junior Lindsay Houston (Concord, N.H./Concord) scored on an infield error during the continuation of the play. However, the home squad put only three more runners on over the final 5.2 innings.

Maloof and Stanley led off the third with back-to-back singles before Cheney swatted her three-run home run, and a suicide squeeze brought home Stanley with a fifth-inning insurance run. After Frank worked out of a two-on, two-out jam in the sixth, Murray doubled with one out in the home half to twice bring the tying run up, but Maloof escaped unscathed.

Brigante and junior Carleen McLaughlin (Branford, Conn./Branford) each ripped RBI singles in the nightcap, while sophomore Bethany Falls (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) allowed just one earned run in 2.2 innings but was saddled with the loss in her first career start.

Southern New Hampshire sophomore Dolores Mattice (Schenectady, N.Y./Mohonasen) was one pitch away from a no-hitter before settling for the two-hitter, as she struck out five and walked two. Six different Penmen had two hits, while sophomore Tesia Stanasek (Blackstone, Mass./Blackstone Valley Tech) hit her team's second home run of the day.

The visitors plated one unearned run in the first and three more in the second to begin pulling away. Senior Amanda Barton (Franklin, N.H./Franklin) hit an RBI triple in the second before tacking on a run-scoring single in the third. The Penmen extended their lead to 7-0 in the fourth before Cheney hit a two-out, two-run single in the fifth, followed by Stanasek knocking a two-run home run as the next batter.

After Mattice allowed only one runner to reach over the first four innings - on a one-out error in the third inning - Frank and Cantore walked in the fifth, but the hurler induced a fielder's choice grounder to put runners at first and second with two down. With McLaughlin facing a 3-2 count, she sent the next pitch back up the middle for a clean single, scoring Frank. Brigante then singled through the left side to bring home another run, but Mattice fanned her final batter.

The Purple Knights are slated to host The College of Saint Rose on Saturday for a 12 p.m. doubleheader.