Pitching, Defense Struggle as Softball Swept by SNHU in Twinbill, 9-3 and 22-3 (5 inn.)

Pitching, Defense Struggle as Softball Swept by SNHU in Twinbill, 9-3 and 22-3 (5 inn.)

RINDGE, N.H. (April 18, 2017) – In the first game on Wednesday afternoon, the Franklin Pierce University softball team was hurt by a season-high seven errors in a 9-3 loss to visiting Southern New Hampshire at the Bisaccia Softball Complex. In the second game, SNHU ambushed two pitchers for 22 runs on 18 hits in a 22-3, five-inning win to complete the sweep of the Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division doubleheader.

With the losses, Franklin Pierce falls to 1-25 (1-15 NE10, 1-11 NE Div.), while SNHU improves to 19-15 (5-9 NE10, 5-5 NE Div.). The sweep allowed the Penmen to claim the three-game season series between the two schools. The teams will meet again on April 25 at SNHU.

In the first game, it was Franklin Pierce which opened the scoring, with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second inning. Junior center fielder Jaclyn Cortese (Upton, Mass.) was hit by a pitch leading off and later advanced with one out, as freshman right fielder Kaitlyn Rooney (Shirley, Mass.) walked and freshman second baseman Allison Collins (Sandown, N.H.) was hit by a pitch to load the bases. With two outs, freshman catcher Ashley Conway (Salem, N.H.) took a 2-1 pitch back up the middle of the diamond. SNHU junior shortstop Brittany Perdigao was able to reach out to get a glove on it, but could not quite flag the ball down, as it went for a two-run single to plate Cortese and Rooney.

SNHU answered immediately and took the lead for good with a five-spot in the top of the third inning. Things started at the top of the order for the Penmen, with Perdigao and junior center fielder Katie Horiuchi taking back-to-back walks, which spelled the end of her time in the circle for Franklin Pierce sophomore right-hander Abbie Paquette (Biddeford, Maine), as fellow sophomore right-hander Sabrina LoMonaco (Franklin, Mass.) took over.

A passed ball moved the runners up to second and third for sophomore right fielder Erin Garczynski, who laid down a bunt. The bunt would have gone for a run-scoring sacrifice, but LoMonaco spiked the throw to first, leaving a run in and everybody safe. Each of the next four Penmen hitters would drive in runs as well: junior designated player Sarah Lavallee knocked an RBI single through the left side, senior catcher Jessica Torsiello plated a run with a sacrifice bunt, freshman left fielder Jordan Wade clubbed a run-scoring triple the other way into the gap in right-center, and senior first baseman Erin Morrissey bounced into an RBI fielder's choice.

Three runs in the top of the sixth stretched the SNHU lead out to 8-2. Freshman third baseman Erin Tyrell opened the inning with a single to right field and freshman second baseman Hannah Neverett followed by dumping a single into center field. Tyrell took a risk, turned second and headed for third as junior Abbigael Cook (Smithfield, R.I.) collected the ball in center. It likely would have been a close play at third base, but sophomore shortstop Ashley Deyo (Dover, N.H.) airmailed the relay throw, allowing Tyrell to score and Neverett to end up on third. After Perdigao dropped down a bunt single while the Ravens held Neverett at third, Horiuchi and Garczynski plated two more runs with a sacrifice bunt and an RBI single through the left side, respectively.

The two teams then traded runs in the seventh to create the 9-3 final. In the top half, Wade looped a single into shallow center field between the shortstop, second baseman and center fielder, and wound up with a double as the Ravens failed to cover second base on the play. She would later score when Neverett bounced into an RBI fielder's choice. In the bottom half, Conway lashed a single to left and would later score when junior first baseman Dominique Bisaccia (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) lifted a sacrifice fly to left field.

Paquette started the first game in the circle for the Ravens and did not factor in the decision after throwing the first two innings, plus two batters in the third. She was charged with two runs on one hit, walked three and threw a wild pitch. LoMonaco (0-9) threw the next three innings in relief and suffered the loss. She surrendered five runs (four earned) on five hits, walked one and threw a wild pitch. Franklin Pierce pitching did not record a strikeout in the first game.

Meanwhile, senior right-hander Nicole Gubellini started for SNHU and did not factor in the decision either, as she threw only the first two innings. She allowed two runs on two hits, walked one, hit two batters and struck out three. Freshman right-hander Maddy Barone (8-4) took over for the final five innings and threw 86 pitches (56 strikes). She allowed one run on five hits, walked one, threw a wild pitch and struck out three.

In the second game, things got out of hand in a hurry, as SNHU sent 12 batters to the plate and tallied seven runs in the top of the first inning. Freshman third baseman Gabriella Vachon had the big blow of the inning, with three runs already in and the bases loaded with two outs, as she broke the game open by clubbing a three-run double deep into the gap in left-center field. Also in the inning, Garczynski knocked a two-run single to right-center, while both Wade and Horiuchi provided RBI singles.

Things only got worse for the Ravens in the top of the second, as the Penmen sent 11 more batters to the plate and tacked on eight more runs to open up a 15-0 lead. This time it was Garczynski with the big blow, as she socked a three-run home run over the fence in center field. Also in the frame, Neverett yanked a two-run double down the left-field line and Vachon provided a sacrifice fly, while both Morrissey and Horiuchi notched RBI singles.

Four runs in the fourth and three more in the fifth opened the lead up to as much as 22-0 for SNHU. In the fourth, Morrissey had a two-run double to right-center, Torsiello pulled an RBI double down the left-field line and Vachon lofted a sacrifice fly to right field. In the fifth, Gubellini and Perdigao each plated runs by drawing bases-loaded walks, while Vachon knocked an RBI single back through the middle.

Franklin Pierce could not avert the eight-run rule shortening the game to five innings, but did cash in a trio of runs in the last of the fifth to create the 22-3 final. Collins, Paquette and Conway opened the inning with three straight singles. Cook then plated a run with an RBI groundout, while Deyo followed and drove a two-run double into the gap in left-center field.

Paquette (0-7) started in the circle in the second game for the Ravens and did not record an out before being lifted in the first inning, though she would later come back to throw the final three innings as well. In all, over three-plus innings of work, she fired 102 pitches, just 37 of which went for strikes. She was touched for 11 runs (six earned) on six hits, issued 11 walks, threw a wild pitch and struck out one.

On the other side of the ledger, Lavallee (3-5) used 93 pitches (67 strikes) to tally the complete game in the middle of the diamond for SNHU. She surrendered three runs on seven hits, did not walk a batter and struck out five.

The Ravens return to the field on Saturday, April 22, when they travel to Assumption for an NE10 Northeast Division doubleheader. First pitch is set for 12:30 p.m. at Marois Field in Worcester, Mass.

For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu). Also be sure to follow the Ravens through the Department of Athletics' official Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceRavens), its YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/franklinpiercesports) and its Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/FPUathletics). Fans wishing to purchase Franklin Pierce baseball apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics' online store (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu/store).