MANCHESTER, N.H. - The Saint Michael's College softball team held nationally-regarded Southern New Hampshire University scoreless until the fourth inning during an 8-0, five-inning loss on Thursday at Penmen Field. The Purple Knights moved to 1-12 overall and 1-4 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while the Penmen are 12-4 and 1-0. Southern New Hampshire is receiving a vote toward this week's National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) national poll.
In its first game since March 23, and its first contest in New England this season, Saint Michael's received a strong start from senior Lea Gipson (Bridport, Vt./Middlebury Union), who blanked the hosts until there was one out in the fourth inning. She ultimately yielded five runs in four-plus innings. Classmates Amanda Brigante (Colchester, Vt./Colchester) and Greer Lemnah (Lyndon Center, Vt./Lyndon Institute) and junior Sarah Murray (Wallingford, Conn./Sheehan) all picked up hits.
Sophomore Katie Caruso (Newton, Mass./Newton North) was 2-for-3 with four RBIs, two runs and two home runs for Southern New Hampshire, while junior Holly Eicher (Stoneham, Mass./Stoneham) also went deep. Sophomore Mo Hannan (Scarborough, Maine/Scarborough) went 3-for-3, and junior Ali Maloof (Norwood, Mass./Norwood) struck out nine while allowing three hits in four frames.
Gipson worked around two two-out singles in the first inning before Lemnah and Brigante strung together consecutive two-out hits in the Purple Knight third, and both moved up on an outfield error. Senior Bethany Falls (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) walked to load the bases before Maloof induced an inning-ending groundout.
Southern New Hampshire stranded runners at first and second in the third, but a leadoff single in the fourth inning was following by a one-out, two-run home run off the bat of Caruso. In the fifth inning, six more runs came home on six hits, including Eicher leading off with a home run and Caruso hitting another two-run shot, which brought the mercy rule into effect.
The Purple Knights head to American International College on Sunday for a 12 p.m. doubleheader, which was originally scheduled to be played in Colchester but was moved due to unplayable field conditions.