STANDISH, ME – Saint Joseph's (23-7, 13-3 GNAC) split a non-conference doubleheader with University of New England (23-11, 15-5 TCCC) at Richard W. Bailey Field on Tuesday night. The Monks fell in eight innings, 6-5, in the opener before taking the nightcap by a 7-1 margin. Freshman second baseman Connie Grovo (Limington, ME) went 5-8 with three runs and an RBI in the two-game set.
In the opener, the Monks spotted the Nor'easters four runs in the top of the first when the visitors capitalized on four hits and an SJC miscue. Starting pitcher Erin Lyons '12 (Salem, NH) helped her cause with a two-run double during the four-run first.
Unfazed, St. Joe's proceeded to cut the deficit in half with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first. With one out, Grovo doubled to left-center and moved to third on an Emily Leverone '12 (Hampton, NH) base hit. Senior first baseman Alyssa Dunn (Standish, ME) plated them both with a double to make it a 4-2 game after one inning of play.
The Monks utilized some situational hitting to score their third run in the bottom of the third frame. Grovo and Leverone opened the inning with singles and clean-up hitter Jill Howard '14 (Rochester, NH) moved both up a base with a sacrifice bunt. Grovo scampered home when Dunn lifted a ball to right field for a sac fly.
With SJC starter Rae-Marie Copan '14 (Newton, MA) holding the Nor'easters in check, the Royal Blue managed to tie the game in the fourth inning when Grovo was plunked by a pitch with the bases loaded.
The deadlock did not last long, however, as the visitors used the small-ball blueprint to score a run in the fifth. Casey Brigham '13 (New London, CT) and Ashley Gott '12 (Winterport, ME) opened the frame with singles and both runners moved up a bag when Marie Mantelli '12 (Thompson, CT) laid down a sac bunt. Megan Gauger '13 (South Paris, ME) plated the go-ahead run on a sac fly to center field.
Saint Joseph's showed more fight in the bottom of the fifth with a run off two hits to tie the game yet again. Dunn opened the inning with a single and was lifted in favor of pinch runner Jordan VanRosendael '13 (Limington, ME), who scored two batters later when pinch hitter Maria Labbe '12 (Lewiston, ME) hit a sacrifice fly to center field.
Both teams had opportunities to take the lead in the following innings, but Lyons and Maddie Kluna '12 (Standish, ME), who replaced Copan in the circle in the top of the sixth, worked out of jams to preserve the tie game.
UNE perfectly executed its first opportunity to score in extra frames, as pinch runner Beth Smith '13 (Delanson, NY) moved to third on an Erin Grover '13 (Biddeford, ME) bunt and scored when Amanda Vaudreuil '14 (Windham, NH) singled.
St. Joe's was in position to tie the game, and perhaps take the lead, in the bottom of the eighth but a baserunning mistake prevented the hosts from taking advantage of the scenario. Kluna opened the inning at second and moved to third on a Katelyn Call '12 (Portland, ME/McAuley) bunt. Danyelle Shufelt '13 (Sutton, VT) reached on an infield single and stole second base, but Kluna bolted for home on the steal attempt and was cut down at the plate for the second out. Grovo popped up to second base to make the final out of the contest.
For the Monks, Grovo went 3-4 with two runs, a double and an RBI and Dunn was 2-3 with a double and three runs batted in. Freshman shortstop Lindsay Moore (Barrington, NH) scored a run and was 3-4 with the bat and Leverone added two hits in four trips and scored a run in the loss.
Copan allowed five runs (two earned) off nine hits with one strikeout and Kluna suffered the loss after yielding an unearned run off four hits in three frames.
For the Nor'easters, Gott was 4-4 with a run and an RBI while Maegen Johnson '12 (Standish, ME) and Grover added two-hit efforts in the opener. Lyons tossed all eight frames to collect the win after allowing five runs off 13 hits and a walk.
After suffering a tough loss in the opener, the Monks showed their mettle in the nightcap when the hosts outhit the visitors by an 11-5 margin en route to a convincing 7-1 victory. St. Joe's never trailed in the closing contest and sealed the win with six runs in the team's last three turns at the bat.
VanRosendael put the Monks on the board with a sac fly, scoring Moore, in the bottom of the second. UNE proceeded to knot the contest when Gauger registered an RBI single in the top of the fourth.
The hosts went on top to stay when Moore, who reached on an error, scored on a throw after a wild pitch. In the fifth, Leverone lifted the Royal Blue to a 3-1 lead with an RBI double and Moore made it a 4-1 game with an RBI single.
Shufelt drove in a run with an infield hit and Leverone doubled home a pair in the bottom of the sixth to provide the hosts with a 7-1 lead.
For the Monks, Leverone went 3-4 with a run, two doubles and three RBI and Grovo was 2-4 with a run scored in the win. Starting pitcher Kayla Vannah '13 (Waldoboro, ME), now 3-1 on the year, scattered five hits and allowed one run with a strikeout in a brilliant complete-game effort.
UNE starting pitcher Julie Bigelow '12 (Montpelier, VT) suffered the loss after allowing seven runs off 11 hits and two walks with two strikeouts in six innings.
St. Joe's travels to Pine Manor College Wednesday for a GNAC twinbill slated to begin at 4:00 PM. The Nor'easters will face non-league opponent Bowdoin College in an away doubleheader on Wednesday at 3:30 PM.