CLERMONT, Fla. - The Saint Michael's College softball team opened its season with a pair of setbacks during The Spring Games on Thursday at Hancock Park, by a 10-4 final against Minnesota State University Moorhead and 2-0 to the University of Bridgeport. The Purple Knights continue a 10-game trip to Florida tomorrow against New York Institute of Technology at 11 a.m. and Bemidji State (Minn.) University at 1 p.m.
In the opener, junior Danielle Barbato (Hillsdale, N.Y./Taconic Hills) was 2-for-4 with an RBI, and classmate Christina Brazeau (Warwick, R.I./Saint Mary Academy-Bay View) and sophomore Hannah St. Don (Lakeville, Mass./Sacred Heart) both had a hit, a run and an RBI, with Brazeau also stealing a base. St. Don joined sophomores Danielle Brown (Vergennes, Vt./Vergennes Union) and Kaleigh Fallon (Mashpee, Mass./Sturgis Charter Public School) and first-year Payton Witalec (Ballston Spa, N.Y./Ballston Spa) in picking up their first college hits. Fallon was also hit by a pitch and scored a run. First-year Molly Feeney (Valhalla, N.Y./John F. Kennedy Catholic) took the look in her college debut.
The 7-9 Dragons plated three runs in the top of the first inning before the Purple Knights countered with a run in the home half, as Barbato singled home Brazeau, but Minnesota State Moorhead scored four more times in the second. Saint Michael's responded with three more runs later in the frame to make it 7-4, as St. Don and Brazeau knocked back-to-back RBI singles and junior Sarah Bagley's (Concord, Mass./Concord-Carlisle) fielder's choice brought the final run home. However, the Purple Knights put only three more runners on base from there, with each reaching on a single. Fallon started the third by making a sliding catch in right field, but the Dragons followed with two runs in that inning and one in the seventh to pull away.
Brown got locked in a pitcher's duel in the nightcap, ultimately taking the loss despite allowing one earned run on six hits over six innings. She fanned six and walked four, while junior Caroline Staples (Stoughton, Mass./Fontbonne Academy) went 2-for-3 with a double.
Junior Kaitlyn Lajoie spun a three-hit shutout for 5-7 Bridgeport, also the Purple Knights, striking out five with one walk. Classmate Kerri Agrela finished 2-for-3 with an RBI, and junior Tara Faford was 1-for-1 with two walks.
First-year Fallon Tierney's (Reading, Mass./Reading Memorial) sliding catch in left field highlighted a shutout first inning, and Staples doubled to lead off the top of the second but moved no further. Agrela's one-out RBI single in the home half gave Bridgeport the only run Lajoie needed before Brown escaped a two-out jam with two runners in scoring position by picking up a strikeout. Barbato walked and Staples singled with one down in the fourth and the score still 1-0, but a fielder's choice and a popup ended the frame.
Bridgeport nearly doubled its lead in the bottom half, but Tierney cut down a runner at the plate to end the inning. A throwing error brought around the second run in the fifth, and Brown averted further damage despite a based-loaded, no-out situation with a strikeout, popup and fielder's choice. Brazeau singled to lead off the sixth and was sacrificed to second by Bagley, who proved to be the first of six straight batters retired to end the game.