MANCHESTER, N.H. - The Saint Michael's College softball team led nationally-regarded Saint Anselm College in extra innings of its doubleheader opener on Wednesday before being swept, 5-4 in eight innings and 4-0, at South Athletic Field. The Purple Knights are 6-19 overall and 3-12 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while the Hawks, who received votes toward this week's National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) national poll, are 28-9-1 and 15-3-1 while occupying first place in the NE10 Northeast Division.
Sophomore Torie Rathwell (Guilderland, N.Y./Guilderland) led the visitors in the opener by batting 2-for-4 with a run, three RBIs and her sixth career home run, tying Mary Horan '78 for ninth in program history. Senior Chandler Wilder (Beverly, Mass./Bishop Fenwick) was 2-for-3 with two runs and her 14th sac hit of the season, tying a school record shared by Beth Murray '04 (2004) and Maggie Russell '08 (2007). Wilder extended her career mark to 30. Sophomore Danielle Markowski (Ellington, Conn./Ellington) also went deep, and senior Danielle Brown (Vergennes, Vt./Vergennes Union) took the loss, striking out five and walking four in 7.1 innings.
Sophomore Maggie Murphy hit a two-run, walk-off double for Saint Anselm, ending the contest 2-for-3 with two RBIs, two doubles and two sac bunts. Classmate Shannon Colson was 2-for-3 with two runs and three stolen bases, while sophomore Morgan Perry allowed four earned runs in a complete game, fanning nine and walking none.
Colson tripled and scored on junior Jordan O'Connor's single in the second inning before the Purple Knights, who saw their first 10 batters retired, went ahead 2-1 on Rathwell's two-run dinger in the fourth. Colson singled and stole home as part of a double steal for her third swipe of the inning during the home half, but Markowski launched a solo homer to put the visitors back on top in the fifth. Sophomore Erin Thompson came up with a game-tying RBI single with one down in the seventh, and she and Colson reached scoring position with two down before Brown induced the final batter to fly out.
With two down in the top of the eighth, Wilder, junior Fallon Tierney (Reading, Mass./Reading Memorial) and Rathwell all singled consecutively, with Wilder scoring the go-ahead run on Rathwell's knock. However, two walks and a single loaded the bases with one down for Saint Anselm in the home half, and Murphy sent her two-run double to center field to clinch the Hawks' comeback victory.
Sophomore Aleksandra Apkarian (Butler, N.J./Butler) doubled in the nightcap, and Rathwell took the loss after all four runs were earned. She struck out one and walked no one.
Senior Amanda Bickford was 2-for-4 with two runs, and Murphy finished 2-for-3 with an RBI. Sophomore Michaela Kane finished 2-for-3 with a run, and first-year Courtney Fisher spun a three-hit shutout with four strikeouts and no walks.
Murphy's RBI single sparked a two-run third inning, and O'Connor's RBI double made it 3-0 in the fourth. Apkarian doubled leading off the fifth but was left at third, and Colson's sac fly extended the lead in the home half. Junior Hayley Craddock (Campbell River, British Columbia/Carihi Secondary School/Highline) reached on an error with one down in the sixth before Wilder singled, but the duo was later left in scoring position.
The Purple Knights are scheduled to return home tomorrow to face Southern New Hampshire University in a 3 p.m. doubleheader.