COLCHESTER, Vt. - Senior Christina Brazeau's (Warwick, R.I./Saint Mary Academy-Bay View) tie-breaking two-run single in the sixth inning put the Saint Michael's College softball team up for good, and the Purple Knights held off Bentley University, 5-4, on Saturday at Doc Jacobs Field to remain in postseason contention.
During its Senior Day contest, the Purple and Gold finished the regular season 12-20 overall and 11-11 in the Northeast-10 Conference. At 10-10 in the NE10 Northeast Division, the hosts sit one game behind Southern New Hampshire University for the fourth and final postseason position. The Penmen lost to Assumption College, 9-8, on Saturday, and needs to lose both games against Bentley on Sunday in order for Saint Michael's to qualify for its first postseason since 2005. The Purple Knights won the season series over Southern New Hampshire, 2-1, to hold the tie-breaker for fourth place. Bentley is 11-23 and 6-16, and left the tying run at third base in the seventh inning.
With its regular season complete, Saint Michael's has tied its highest win total since 2007 while claiming the program's most league victories since that same 2007 season. The NE10 broke into two divisions in 2013, and the Purple Knights' 10 divisional triumphs are their most since the split.
First-year Torie Rathwell (Guilderland, N.Y./Guilderland) was 2-for-4 with a run, an RBI and two doubles for the hosts, and classmate Aleksandra Apkarian (Butler, N.J./Butler) finished 2-for-3 with a run and a double. Rathwell nabbed her sixth win of the season, allowing one run on one hit in two innings of relief. She struck out two. Sophomore Fallon Tierney (Reading, Mass./Reading Memorial) was 1-for-3 with a run and a walk. Junior Danielle Brown (Vergennes, Vt./Vergennes Union) took the no-decision after yielding three runs, two of which were earned, on four hits in five frames. Brown struck out six, moving her season total to 105 and joining Meggan Roberge Dulude '07 as the only Purple Knights with multiple 100-strikeout seasons after also doing so in 2016.
In addition to picking up her two RBIs, Brazeau knocked her 77th career hit, tying Shannon Dufresne '98 for 20th in program history. All 77 of her hits have come in the past three seasons after she garnered only six at bats as a reserve during her rookie season. Rathwell's 11 doubles this season are two shy of Ashley Harkins' '09 eight-year-old school record, and her 20 RBIs are the most since Megan O'Connor '09 set the school record of 32 in 2009.
First-year Juliana Romeo had two RBIs for Bentley as one of five players with one hit. As the second of three pitchers, graduate student Hannah King took the loss after allowing three runs on six hits in five innings. She struck out seven.
After senior Kelsey Kennedy and first-year Julie Slaven knocked back-to-back two-out triples to give Bentley a 1-0 lead in the first inning, Rathwell doubled home Tierney in the home half before scoring on a passed ball. Senior Caroline Staples (Stoughton, Mass./Fontbonne Academy) doubled and scored on first-year pinch-hitter Katie Terban's (Georgetown, Mass./Saint Mary's) fielder's choice grounder in the fourth to make it 3-1.
Bentley pulled even the following frame, when Romeo singled home a pair with two down, with run being unearned. With one down in the sixth, Apkarian doubled and moved up on junior Chandler Wilder's (Beverly, Mass./Bishop Fenwick) bunt single. Tierney walked to load the bases, and Brazeau singled through the left side in her final career at bat on Doc Jacobs Field to produce a two-run cushion.
In the seventh, a run came home as Kennedy reached on an infield error with one out, and a stolen base and groundout put the tying run at third base before Rathwell struck out the final batter to secure the victory.
As part of a Senior Day ceremony prior to their final collegiate home game, Brazeau, Staples and Danielle Barbato (Hillsdale, N.Y./Taconic Hills) were all recognized.