COLCHESTER, Vt. - After opening its season with 19 consecutive games away from home, the Saint Michael's College softball team stayed close with first-place Stonehill College but was swept 4-1 and 3-0 in eight innings during its home-opening doubleheader on Monday during Northeast-10 Conference action at Doc Jacobs Field. The Purple Knights fell to 1-20 overall, 1-12 in the league and 0-7 in the Northeast Division, while the Skyhawks are 18-14, 13-5 and 10-2.
Senior Greer Lemnah (Lyndon Center, Vt./Lyndon Institute) went 2-for-3 with a run in the opener for the hosts, while sophomore Judi Barcavage (Cold Spring, N.Y./Haldane) was 2-for-3 with an RBI. First-year Jessica Barnett (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) was 1-for-2 with a walk, while senior Laura McCormack (Natick, Mass./Natick) allowed four runs during a complete-game effort.
First-year Michelle Carbone (Deer Park, N.Y./Saint Anthony's) was 3-for-4 with an RBI for Stonehill, and sophomore Megan Ruonavaara (Rocky Hill, Conn./Rocky Hill) went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI. Ruonavaara also claimed the win after allowing one unearned run on six hits in seven innings, striking out five.
Ruonavaara and Carbone came through with back-to-back two-out RBI singles in the first inning, and the Purple Knights nearly tied the contest in the home half. Barcavage sent an RBI single into right field with two down, scoring Lemnah, but right fielder Carbone sent a throw directly home to cut down senior Bethany Falls (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) trying to score from second base.
McCormack worked around consecutive hits to begin a scoreless second inning, and first-year Caroline Staples (Stoughton, Mass./Fontbonne Academy) and Barnett both singled with one out in the bottom half before being left on. Stonehill posted a two-out run in each the third and fourth innings to take a 4-1 edge before the hosts strung together a two-out rally in the bottom of the seventh. Senior Grace Bonaiuto (Beverly, Mass./Austin Preparatory School) drew a four-pitch walk prior to Lemnah singling up the middle for the 97th hit of her career, bringing the tying run to the plate. However, Ruonavaara induced a game-ending groundout two pitches later.
Senior Lea Gipson (Bridport, Vt./Middlebury Union) carried a shutout into the eighth inning of the nightcap, ultimately allowing two earned runs on five hits. Falls picked up a hit, junior Sarah Murray (Wallingford, Conn./Sheehan) walked, and first-year Sarah Bagley (Concord, Mass./Concord-Carlisle) stole a pair of bases.
Carbone went 2-for-4 with a run, two RBIs and a home run, and first-year Cassandra Squeri (New Providence, N.J./New Providence) spun a one-hit shutout over eight innings.
Gipson allowed only two hits and three base runners over the first five innings, while only one Purple Knight reached in the opening four frames. In the fifth, Murray drew a seven-pitch walk with one down before Bagley pinch ran, promptly stealing second base before swiping third one out later before ultimately being stranded.
Gipson worked around a one-out walk and single in the sixth, with left fielder Lemnah making a sliding catch to end the frame, and Falls led off the seventh with a single and moved to second on sophomore Danielle DelGreco's (Lexington, Mass./Lexington) sacrifice bunt. The next two Saint Michael's hitter flew out. Squeri led off the eighth with a double to center and later scored on an error before Carbone extended the lead with a one-out, two-run home run. Squeri set the hosts down in order in the bottom half.
The Purple Knights, whose scheduled home contest tomorrow with Saint Anselm College has been postponed, play next on Wednesday at Franklin Pierce University in a 3 p.m. doubleheader.