STANDISH, ME – Saint Joseph's (27-7, 20-2 GNAC) saw its winning streak end at 23 games on Monday night, as Emerson College (24-8, 19-3 GNAC) swept the Monks in a GNAC Softball doubleheader, winning the opener 9-1 and the nightcap 5-1, at Ward Park.
One of the few highlights in the two-game set came in the bottom of the fourth of the second contest when Liddy van der Linden '10 (Worcester, MA) led off the frame with a home run, her ninth of the 2010 campaign. The blast broke the program single-season record for long balls, which was set last season by teammate Emily Leverone '12 (Hampton, NH) and previously held by Kelly Premo '02, with six jacks, for seven seasons.
Prior to the twinbill, the Monks' four seniors – van der Linden, Jillian Kimball (Albany Township, ME), Christy Wezowicz (Granville, MA) and Anna Willis (Gorham, ME) – were honored with a ceremony in recognition of their contributions to the program. Through four seasons to date, the quartet has helped the Royal Blue post a 98-55 record with a corresponding .641 winning percentage.
Along with the Senior Day festivities, the Monks sported pink pre-game warm-ups and wore pink ribbons and socks in order to raise breast cancer awareness. The program sold t-shirts and collected donations for the worthy cause during the games as well.
In the losses, St. Joe's mustered just seven hits with six miscues defensively and suffered its first mercy-rule loss of the year in the opener. The van der Linden homer was the Monks' only extra-base hit of the evening.
Emerson ace Kelsey Tuthill '12 (Middlefield, CT) tossed 6.2 innings, allowing just two hits with 11 strikeouts in the closing contest. Southpaw Sara Murray '12 (Auburn, NH) worked all five innings and scattered four hits with three K's in the opener for the Lions.
Wezowicz (9-3) started the first game for the Monks and allowed nine runs – seven earned – and eight hits in 3.1 innings, while Kayla Vannah '13 (Waldoboro, ME) hurled 1.2 innings in relief with two hits allowed and one strikeout.
Game-two starter Madylan Kluna '12 (Standish, ME) worked four innings, surrendering five hits and two earned runs with a walk and a strikeout, before being lifted in favor of Kiera Walsh '11 (Benton, ME), who tossed the final three innings with three runs – one earned – and four hits allowed. Kluna falls to 7-2 on the year with the losing decision.
The Lions wasted little time in the opener, as the visitors scored five runs off four hits in the top of the second to put the Monks on their heels. Nikki Battaglia '10 (Freehold, NJ) led off with a double and trotted home when the next batter, Kendal Peiguss '12 (Suquamish, WA), belted a Wezowicz offering over the fence. Brittany Martin '11 (Las Vegas, NV) followed with a double to center and the next two batters walked to load the bases for Bridget Farago '10 (Oneonta, NY), who plated a pair with a single to left. Jaclyn Castellano '13 (Staten Island, NY) scampered home on a wild pitch to provide the Lions with a 5-0 lead.
Battaglia scored on a passed ball in the third and Emerson added three more runs in the fourth to capture a 9-0 cushion. Farago scored on an error and Martin registered a two-run single in the fourth frame.
St. Joe's scored in the bottom of the fourth, as Danyelle Shufelt '13 (Sutton, VT) led off with a sharply hit single to right and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly sent to left by Alyssa Dunn '11 (Standish, ME).
Samantha Gray '12 (Yarmouth, ME) was the Monks' lone repeat hitter in the opener, as the sophomore went 2-2 with two singles in the losing effort.
Martin was 3-3 with a run, a double and two RBI and Farago went 2-3 with a run and two RBI for the Lions.
For the Monks, the loss is the first since March 13th, which was the team's final day in Fort Myers, Florida. The 23-game winning streak stands as a program record, besting the previous high (18 games, 1990) by five wins, and ties the SJC Athletics mark for longest victory streak with the 1998-99 Men's Basketball team's feat of the same length.
The Lions took an early lead again in the nightcap with one run off two hits in the first frame. Farago led off the game with a single to deep short and later scored when Christina Naramore '11 (Ammissville, VA) grounded out to SJC shortstop Liddy van der Linden. The visitors added another run in the third, as Jordan Newell '12 (Palm City, FL) scored on a Pieguss single to center.
Saint Joseph's cut its deficit in half with van der Linden's historic home run in the fourth, but the Monks registered just one hit, a single by Shufelt in the sixth, in the final three innings. In the meantime, Emerson tacked on a run in the fifth and two in the sixth en route to completing the sweep.
Newell was 2-2 with two runs and Farago went 2-4 with a run and an RBI in the nightcap for the Lions.
St. Joe's will look to rebound with a conference twinbill tomorrow at Rivier College. The first game of the doubleheader, which was originally scheduled for April 16th but postponed due to rain, will begin at 6:00 PM. Emerson will host GNAC rival Simmons College tomorrow in a two-game set slated to begin at 3:30 PM.