MANCHESTER, N.H. – Sophomore Maggie Murphy delivered a walk-off single to lift the Saint Anselm College softball team to a 5-4 victory over Merrimack College and give head coach Jill Gagnon her 100th-career victory on Monday afternoon at South Athletic Fields.
With runners on first and second and one out in the bottom of the seventh, Murphy singled through the right side to score Madison Borrelli from second and give Saint Anselm (20-8-1, 7-2-1 NE10) the win. The victory gave the Hawks a series win over Northeast Divisional opponent Merrimack (17-7, 4-4 NE10) after the teams split two games on Saturday.
In her fifth season on the Hilltop, Gagnon has a career record of 100-78-1 (.561) and earned her 100th win against her alma mater.
Saint Anselm led 4-1 after five innings, but Merrimack fought back to tie the game with two in the sixth and one in the top of the seventh. The Hawks started the seventh with a single by Megan Murrell and a walk to Borrelli before Maddison Leite hit into a fielder's choice to retire the lead runner, setting up Murphy's heroics.
Murrell was 3-for-4 with a two-run home run, her team-high fifth of the season. Leite hit her first collegiate home run as part of a 2-for-4, two-RBI performance. Erin Thompson reached base three times, going 1-for-2 with two walks and two runs. Borrelli, Thompson and Amanda Bickford all extended lengthy reached base streaks, as the three have reached safely in 19, 17 and 16 consecutive games, respectively.
In her first relief appearance of the season, Morgan Perry earned her 11th victory of the season by pitching a scoreless seventh. Courtney Fisher threw the first six-plus innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits with a walk and two strikeouts. The Hawks dealt Megan Cook just her second loss of the season, as the Merrimack starter allowed five runs on nine hits and five walks in 6.1 innings.
Cook helped her own cause early, hitting a two-out RBI double to right center in the top of the first to give the Warriors an early lead. The lead was short-lived as Murrell sent a two-run home run over the right-field fence in the bottom of the inning to put the Hawks ahead, 2-1.
The score remained 2-1 until Leite led off the bottom of the fourth with a home run to left. In the next inning, the freshman provided a two-out RBI single up the middle to score Thompson from second and stretch the Saint Anselm lead to 4-1.
Merrimack began its late rally with two runs in the top of the sixth, scoring on a fielder's choice off the bat of Nicole Nanof and adding another on a wild pitch. The Warriors sent the game to the bottom of the seventh on a two-out RBI single to left by Alyssa Williamson, who came to bat with runners on second and third and two away following a strikeout by Perry, who entered the game after Caitlin McBride doubled to start the seventh. Perry stranded the go-ahead run at third to keep the game tied headed to the bottom of the seventh.
Saint Anselm faces crosstown-rival Southern New Hampshire in a road doubleheader on Wednesday, Apr. 4 beginning at 4 p.m.