Softball takes lead in 10th before suffering walk-off loss to Merrimack, 5-4

Softball takes lead in 10th before suffering walk-off loss to Merrimack, 5-4

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. - The Saint Michael's College softball team lost to Merrimack College, 5-4 in 10 innings, on Friday at Warrior Diamond before the teams' second game was suspended in the second inning. The Purple Knights are 3-31 overall and 2-21 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while the Warriors are 21-25 and 12-13.

Junior Danielle Barbato (Hillsdale, N.Y./Taconic Hills) hit 2-for-4 with a walk, a run, three RBIs, a double and her team-leading fourth home run of the year for Saint Michael's. Classmate Christina Brazeau (Warwick, R.I./Saint Mary Academy-Bay View) was 2-for-5 with a run, an RBI and a double, four players had one hit, and sophomore Chandler Wilder (Beverly, Mass./Bishop Fenwick) dropped a pair of sacrifice bunts. Classmate Danielle Brown (Vergennes, Vt./Vergennes Union) yielded two earned runs in the complete-game loss, striking out eight and walking three during 9.2 innings. The contest was the Purple Knights' longest since a 10-inning affair at The College of Saint Rose on May 1, 2007.         

Junior Haley Currie was 3-for-5 with a run, two RBIs and two doubles for Merrimack while also tossing all 10 frames. She allowed three earned runs, struck out six and walked two. First-year Emily Kurkul went 2-for-3 with a run, two runs and a home run while being hit twice by a pitch. Junior Samantha Waskowitz drew all three of Brown's walks.

Saint Michael's left the bases loaded in the first inning, as Brazeau and junior Caroline Staples (Stoughton, Mass./Fontbonne Academy) singled before senior Danielle DelGreco (Lexington, Mass./Lexington) walked. Merrimack stranded a pair at second and third in the home half, but Currie gave the hosts the lead with a two-out RBI double in the third.

After Currie set down 10 straight Purple Knights between the first and fourth innings, the visitors went ahead in the fifth. First-year Payton Witalec (Ballston Spa, N.Y./Ballston Spa) led off with a single before Brazeau and Barbato roped back-to-back run-scoring doubles with two down. Brown worked out of a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the bottom half, but Kurkul led off the sixth with a tying solo home run. Later in the frame, second baseman Brazeau started an inning-ending double play, catching a popup and tossing to sophomore catcher Hannah St. Don (Lakeville, Mass./Sacred Heart) to cut down the potential go-ahead runner at the plate.

With International Tiebreaker taking effect in the 10th inning, St. Don was placed on second base before Barbato drilled a two-run homer to left field with two out. However, Merrimack won it with three runs in its half of the frame. Currie plated the first run with an RBI double before scoring on a throwing error when the next batter reached on an infield single. With the winning run at third base and no one out, Brown induced consecutive popups to come within one out of forcing another extra frame, but Kurkul came through with a two-out RBI single to right field to give the Warriors a walk-off victory.

The Purple Knights finish their season tomorrow at Merrimack, with the teams first resuming their suspended game at 10 a.m. After that contest, which is currently scoreless in the second inning, two more games will be played.