COLCHESTER, Vt. - With the go-ahead run at second base, Saint Michael's College softball senior Danielle Brown (Vergennes, Vt./Vergennes Union) struck out the final Stonehill College batter on Sunday to secure a 4-3 victory and a three-game weekend series sweep at Doc Jacobs Field during Senior Day.
The Purple Knights improved to 9-21 overall and 6-14 in the Northeast-10 Conference behind their fifth consecutive win over the Skyhawks, who slipped to 8-25 and 7-16.
Brown struck out seven batters without walking any during her complete game while also batting 1-for-2 with an RBI and a walk. Sophomore Aleksandra Apkarian (Butler, N.J./Butler) finished 3-for-3 with a run, an RBI and a double, while classmates Danielle Markowski (Ellington, Conn./Ellington) and Julia Sevigny (Rocky Hill, Conn./Rocky Hill) ripped RBI doubles in the fifth inning to put the Purple Knights ahead for good. Junior Hayley Craddock (Campbell River, British Columbia/Carihi Secondary School/Highline) was 1-for-2 with a run and two walks, and senior Chandler Wilder (Beverly, Mass./Bishop Fenwick) finished 1-for-2 with two sacrifice bunts.
While finishing off her 50th career complete game, Brown pushed her season strikeout total to a career-high 138, good for fifth in program history, and the most ever by anyone besides strikeout leader Meggan Roberge Dulude '07. Brown broke out of a tie with Megan O'Connor '09.
First-year Hannah Ricker was 3-for-4 with a run and a triple for Stonehill, and classmate Michelle Theilgard batted 2-for-3 with a run, two RBIs and a double. As the second of three pitchers, sophomore Kazi Walker took the loss after allowing two runs on five hits in 3.2 innings. She struck out four and walked one.
Most of the game's scoring occurred in the first inning, when the Skyhawks plated all three of their runs. Ricker led off the game with an infield single before advancing on an error, and Theilgard followed three batters later with a two-run double. A wild pitch moved her to third before a sac fly plated her for the third run.
Craddock led off the home half with a four-pitch walk, junior Fallon Tierney (Reading, Mass./Reading Memorial) was hit by a pitch, and sophomore Torie Rathwell (Guilderland, N.Y./Guilderland) drew another walk to load the bases with one out. Apkarian singled up the middle on an 0-2 pitch to score Craddock, and Brown followed one out later with an RBI single to left on another two-strike pitch.
After yielding hits to three of the first four hitters, Brown allowed knocks to just five of the final 26. She pitched out of a two-on, two-out jam in the second and a two-on, one-out situation during the third. Saint Michael's left three on base between the second and third frames before going ahead with two runs in the fifth. Apkarian doubled to the fence in center field before Markowski put a double on the chalk on the left-field line to tie the game. With two down, Sevigny drilled a double into left center field, bringing sophomore pinch runner Sarah Wight (Hingham, Mass./Hingham) home with the go-ahead run.
Brown retired 13 straight Skyhawks by the time she set down the first two batters in the seventh, but Ricker tripled to left center, and first-year pinch-hitter Gianna Azzato was hit by a pitch and stole second to put the go-ahead run in scoring position. However, Brown finished a six-pitch at bat by striking out the final batter swinging.
During a Senior Day ceremony prior to the contest, Brown, Wilder and Hannah St. Don (Lakeville, Mass./Sacred Heart) were recognized.
The Purple Knights complete their home slate by taking on Saint Anselm College for a 4 p.m. contest on Tuesday, which will also be a Hope Happens Here Mental Health Awareness game. The NE10 Northeast Division leader, the Hawks are second in the first NCAA East Region rankings while receiving votes this week toward the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) national poll.