Monks Top Eagles in NCAA Tourney Tune-up, 5-2

STANDISH, ME – Saint Joseph's (35-8) defeated Husson University (25-17), 5-2, in a non-conference softball contest at Richard W. Bailey Field on Sunday afternoon. Senior first baseman Alyssa Dunn (Standish, ME) went 2-4 with a double and two RBI in the Monks' 2011 regular season finale.

Trailing 2-0 after four and half innings, St. Joe's managed to secure the lead with three runs off two hits in the bottom of the fifth with Dunn's two-run double pushing across the go-ahead score. The Monks went on to plate a pair off an Emily Leverone '12 (Hampton, NH) single in the sixth while SJC pitchers Kiera Walsh '11 (Benton, ME), Kayla Vannah '13 (Waldoboro, ME) and Rae-Marie Copan '14 (Newton, MA) combined to toss three scoreless – and hitless – innings to close out the game with the Royal Blue on top by three runs.

Both programs captured their respective conference crowns last weekend and, as a result, have earned automatic bids into the upcoming NCAA DIII Softball Tournament, which begins this Wednesday. St. Joe's, the 2011 GNAC Champions, and Husson, the 2011 North Atlantic Conference champs, will learn of their seeding and NCAA tourney pairings tomorrow. The NCAA announcement is expected by midday.

Maddie Kluna '12 (Standish, ME) started in the circle for St. Joe's and yielded two runs (one earned) off five hits and two walks. Walsh improved to 11-1 on the season after allowing a walk in a scoreless fifth and Copan notched the first save of her career with a perfect seventh inning.

Husson starter Rebecca McCarty '14 (Skowhegan, ME) fell to 4-1 on the season after allowing three runs off six hits and five walks in 4.1 innings. Kelly Naegelin '14 (Cohasset, MA) surrendered two runs off two hits and a pair of hit batsmen in the loss.

The Eagles tallied runs in the first and fourth frames to secure a 2-0 cushion. Right fielder Courtney Hill '13 (Calais, ME) led off the game with an infield single, moved up a bag on a sac bunt by Amanda Gifford '12 (Lee, ME), stole third, and scored on a passed ball.

In the fourth, catcher Sarah Risser '12 (Brewer, ME) doubled and scampered home when the next batter, second baseman Kara Poirier '13 (Berlin, NH), drove a double to left field.

The Monks, showing their rust a bit having not played since winning the GNAC Championship game last Sunday, finally came to life in the fifth inning. Designated player Jill Howard '14 (Rochester, NH) put the Royal Blue on the board with a single down the right field line, scoring Caitlin Schrum '12 (Littlefield, NH), who reached via base on balls, and Dunn plated Danyelle Shufelt '13 (Sutton, VT), who singled, and Leverone, who walked, with a double to provide her team with a 3-2 edge.

Leverone gave the Monks some breathing room with a two-run single in the bottom of the sixth and Copan set down the side in order in the top of the seventh to close out the game.