COLCHESTER, Vt. – The Saint Michael's College softball was swept during its home-opening doubleheader against Pace University, 3-0 and 9-0 in six innings, in Northeast-10 Conference play at Doc Jacobs Field on Saturday. The Purple Knights slip to 2-16 overall and 1-7 in the league, while the Setters, a 2015 NCAA Tournament qualifier, improve to 15-9 and 8-2.
Senior Jenna Maksian (Shrewsbury, Mass./Shrewsbury) provided the lone Saint Michael's hit in game one, while junior Danielle Barbato (Hillsdale, N.Y./Taconic Hills) walked. Sophomore Danielle Brown (Vergennes, Vt./Vergennes Union) took the complete-game loss, yielding all three runs while scattering six hits and striking out six batters with no walks. Brown has gone the distance in six of her eight starts this season.
Pace sophomores Ashley Lew and Surina Sandhu both went 2-for-3 with a run scored, with Lew chipping in an RBI double. Classmates Larissa Labs tripled and scored and Cristen Whigham laced a two-run single. Junior Haley Hernandez put down two sacrifice bunts. Redshirt senior Caitlin McCann spun a one hitter, striking out two and walking one.
Labs led off the game with a triple to right field, and Lew doubled to left center two pitches later for Pace's first run. After Lew reached third on a passed ball, Brown sat down the next three batters thanks to back-to-back strikeouts and a line out. Maksian came up in the bottom half of the first inning and ripped a hard liner to third base for the Purple Knights' first and eventual only hit of the opener. A throwing error during the next at-bat put Maksian at third and junior Caroline Staples (Stoughton, Mass./Fontbonne Academy) on second, but McCann struck out the next batter to end the threat.
The following four innings turned into a pitcher's duel between Brown and McCann, as Pace had three base runners, while Saint Michael's was kept off base. Consecutive sixth-inning singles by Lew and Sandhu were followed by a Hernandez bunt, and then a Whigham two-run single up the middle to provide the Setters with a 3-0 cushion. Barbato drew a two-out walk in the bottom of the seventh before McCann induced a game-ending pop up.
Barbato doubled, Staples singled and first-year Payton Witalec (Ballston Spa, N.Y./Ballston Spa) was hit by a pitch for Saint Michael's in the second game. First-year Molly Feeney (Valhalla, N.Y./John F. Kennedy Catholic) was tagged with the loss after surrendering six runs on seven hits with three strikeouts in three innings. Classmate Anna Meusel (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxboro Regional) tossed three relief frames.
Sandhu doubled three times, scored twice and contributed four RBIs as part of her 4-for-4 showing. Lew tripled, walked and scored three times, while junior Samantha Lima went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored. Hernandez and Labs both swiped one base, with Labs laying down a sac bunt as well. Sophomore Jaclyn Flores won in relief, tossing 2.1 hitless and scoreless innings. Junior Kaitlynn Nelson threw the opening 3.2 scoreless frames and allowed just two hits with three strikeouts.
Pace plated four runs on three hits in the first inning, thanks in part to Lima's two-out, two-run single to left field. The Setters then scored once in each of the next three innings to take a 7-0 lead after five frames. Barbato's one-out double in the second served as the hosts' only base runner until Staples singled in the fourth. Witalec was hit by a pitch in the fifth, and first-year Fallon Tierney (Reading, Mass./Reading Memorial) reached on an error in the sixth before Flores got a pop up and strikeout to seal the game-shortened win.
Saint Michael's is scheduled to play at home for its next six games, beginning with a single game on Tuesday at 3 p.m. against Saint Anselm College.