STANDISH, Maine – Mount Ida College fell behind in both halves of their Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) softball doubleheader versus Saint Joseph's College (7-9, 2-2 GNAC) and, despite comeback attempts, the Mustangs (3-9, 0-2 GNAC) dropped their first two conference games of the year at Richard W. Bailey Field on a chilly Tuesday afternoon.
GAME 1 – Saint Joseph's 8, Mount Ida 6
Sophomore shortstop Hayley Microulis (Pawtucket, R.I.) was 3-4 with three runs and a double and freshman first baseman Kelsey Weston (Hampstead, N.H.) went 2-3 with a double and two RBI, giving the Mustangs a 1-0 lead in the top of the second.
Junior center fielder Michele MacDonald (North Dighton, Mass.) and junior second baseman Lucianna Medici (Riverside, R.I.) added two hits and an RBI apiece
The Monks, held hitless in their first three turns at the bat, finally broke through in the bottom of the fourth with five runs off four hits and a Mount Ida miscue. Freshman shortstop Meghan Elliott (Blackstone, Mass.), who led off the inning, broke the hitless string with a double to left field and eventually scored on an infield error.
St. Joe's tacked on two more in the fifth, but Mount Ida tightened the collar in the sixth with four runs off five hits and two SJC errors, making it a 7-5 game going into the bottom of the penultimate frame. The Monks tacked on an insurance run without recording a hit and the Mustangs, who countered with a run off two hits in the top of the seventh, had the tying run at the plate with two out, but SJC freshman pitcher Jennelle Thompson (Farmington, N.H.) closed the door with a strikeout.
Mount Ida junior Nicole Handzel (Palmer, Mass.) was dominant in the early going, but fell victim to a high pitch count midway through the opener. She falls to 2-5 on the season after allowing eight runs (six earned) off eight hits and seven walks while fanning three batters.
Saint Joseph's freshman starter Kristal Smith (Pittston, Maine) allowed five runs (one earned) off 10 hits and two walks with six strikeouts over six innings to improve to 4-2 on the year. Thompson picked up her first NCAA save after giving up a run off two hits with a punch-out in the seventh.
GAME TWO – Saint Joseph's 7, Mount Ida 6
Trailing 6-2 in the seventh, the Mustangs rallied to tie the game with a four-run inning, capped by an RBI single by Emma Morton (Winchester, Mass.) to tie the game. Weston singled home MacDonald to start the rally and Jenni Jackson (Marlborough, Mass.) doubled in a run, with another run crossing the plate on a wild pitch.
Saint Joseph's grabbed an early lead with two runs off Kelsy Gaddy (Limington, Maine) and Elliott doubles in the bottom of the first and maintained an advantage until the top of the seventh.
The Monks managed to win the nightcap without registering a hit in the bottom of the seventh. Junior Jennifer Murphy (Andover, Mass.) led off the inning as a pinch hitter, worked a five-pitch walk, and was lifted in favor of pinch runner Emilie Duggan (Newfield, Maine), who scored the winning run when the following two batters – Mayhew and Pollini – both reached on infield errors.
St. Joe's junior starter Kylie McFadden (Dover, N.H.) improves to 2-3 after yielding six runs (three earned) off eight hits and a walk with six K's in a complete-game effort.
Microulis falls to 1-4 on the young season after allowing seven runs (six earned) off 10 hits and a free pass with four punch-outs in 6.1 innings.
Morton went 2-4 with a double and three RBI, while Weston added two more hits, two runs and an RBI and MacDonald was 2-4 with a run and a triple.
Though Saint Joseph's improves to 19-0 in the history of the series with Mount Ida College, Mount Ida did record the most runs against the Monks in the series history. Prior to today, the most runs the Mustangs had scored versus the Monks was four – a total achieved twice (4/14/11& 4/4/14).
Mount Ida hosts University of Saint Joseph (CT) on Saturday in a conference doubleheader that starts at 12:00 PM.
Saint Joseph's travels to Anna Maria College this Saturday for a GNAC twinbill, also at 12:00 PM.