Purple Knights split twinbill with Saint Anselm, earn 4-3 win in opener

COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College softball team split a doubleheader with Saint Anselm College on Thursday at Doc Jacobs Field, knocking off a squad that entered the day tied for second in the Northeast-10 Conference's Northeast Division, 4-3, in the opener during a league affair. The hosts fell by an 11-1 count in the nightcap, a non-league contest. The Purple Knights are now 1-30 overall and 1-11 in the division, while the Hawks are 16-17 and 9-4.

In game one, junior Bethany Falls (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) went 2-for-3 with a run for the hosts, and sophomore Sarah Murray (Wallingford, Conn./Sheehan) had a hit, a walk, a run, an RBI and a stolen base. Senior Stephanie Frank (Essex, Vt./Essex) earned the win, not allowing an earned run while striking out four over seven innings. She did not walk a batter.

Sophomore Hayley Lombard (Boynton Beach, Fla./American Heritage/Plantation) was 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI for Saint Anselm, while first-year Pattie Turner (Warwick, R.I./Toll Gate) had two RBIs. Sophomore Tayla Trask (Lincoln, Maine/Mattanawcook Academy) yielded one earned run in six innings to take the loss, striking out seven and walking three.

Saint Michael's junior left fielder Greer Lemnah (Lyndon Center, Vt./Lyndon Institute) opened the game with a diving back-handed catch in left field before the visitors plated an unearned run in the second inning, with Lombard singling home a teammate. Murray limited the threat by cutting Lombard down trying to steal.

The Purple Knights scored their four runs in the third, with the tying run coming around on an error before Murray completed a 10-pitch at bat with an RBI single to right center that gave the hosts a 2-1 edge. First-year Danielle DelGreco (Lexington, Mass./Lexington) grounded out to plate Frank, and senior Lindsay Houston (Concord, N.H./Concord) followed with a two-out single to right center that brought Murray around.

Turner's two-out, two-run double made it 4-3 in the fourth, and Frank got out of a two-on, two-out jam in the fifth by inducing a grounder. Saint Michael's backed her with strong defense in the sixth after a leadoff single put the tying run on base. Senior third baseman Carleen McLaughlin (Branford, Conn./Branford) dove to catch a popped up bunt for the first out before Falls ranged deep in the hole at shortstop to begin an inning-ending play. Frank fanned the first two batters in the seventh before first-year Katy DelGreco (Lexington, Mass./Lexington) secured a fly ball to center field for the final out.

Danielle DelGreco was 3-for-3 in game two, while first-year Jenna Maksian (Shrewsbury, Mass./Shrewsbury) came through with a pinch-hit RBI single. Classmate Jessica Niles (Chaumont, N.Y./General Brown) took the loss after allowing five earned runs in 5.1 innings as the first of three pitchers.

First-year Julie LeClair (Taunton, Mass./Coyle and Cassidy) was 3-for-5 with three runs and five RBIs for the Hawks, coming within a home run of the cycle, and Turner went 3-for-4 with two runs. Junior Olivia Story (Middleton, Mass./Masconomet Regional) had three RBIs, and sophomore Paige Cormier (Rochester, N.H./Spaulding) scattered nine hits while striking out two and walking one during a complete game.

Frank's running catch toward left center and ensuing toss to first to double up a Saint Anselm runner keyed the first inning, and the teams traded scoreless bases-loaded opportunities in the second before the Hawks scored four times on four hits in the third. Story's two-run single was the big blow.

Four more Saint Anselm runs came around in the sixth, with LeClair knocking a two-run single. Maksian's RBI single off the bench with two out in the sixth trimmed the visitors' lead down to seven before LeClair hit a two-run triple during a three-run seventh inning. Sophomore Sara St. Don (Lakeville, Mass./Apponequet Regional) came up with her first college hit in the home half, singling through the right side as a pinch hitter.

The Purple Knights head to the University of Massachusetts at Lowell on Saturday for a 2 p.m. twinbill.