The St. Lawrence University softball team split on its final day of competition in Clermont, FL, defeating Franciscan 4-3 before falling to Lawrence University, 2-0. The Saints will head back up north with a 6-6 record and will play SUNY Canton on March 26 before hosting SUNY Potsdam in a double header on April 2.
"I think playing in the spring games in Clermont was a good learning experience for us," said St. Lawrence head coach Elisa Van Kirk. "We did a lot of good things and were able to hold our own against some really talented teams. This week also highlighted our weaknesses and what we have to improve on before we enter conference play. Overall, I'm pleased with the team's performance this past week and am looking forward to playing games when we get back to New York."
In the first game of the day, the Saints led 3-1 heading into the top of the seventh inning, but the Barons rallied to tie the game at 3-3. A walk-off single to left field from Cailyn Welsh in the bottom of the seventh allowed Lauren Weisbarth to score, giving the Saints a 4-3 victory.
McGinley earned the win on the mound for St. Lawrence as she allowed seven hits, one earned run, and struck out seven. The Canastota, NY native also led the team offensively, going 3-for-3 and scoring a run, while Weisbarth was 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI.
The Saints got things rolling in the third inning when Abby Hewett led off with a double to right field. Leslie Stratton followed with a sacrifice bunt, and reached base due to a throwing error on the Franciscan catcher. Hewett came around to score on the play to put the Saints on the board.
A bunt single from Natasha Bell, followed by a single up the middle from Weisbarth brought Stratton home to make it 2-0. McGinley followed with a single to load the bases for Becky Allen who ripped a line drive, but it was handled by the third baseman who doubled up Bell on the play to end the threat.
In the top of the fifth inning, the Barons used three hits to cut the Saints' lead to 2-1. Katrinia Fabian and Becca Peters led off with singles. St. Lawrence nabbed the lead runner at second base on the next play and McGinley followed that with a strikeout, but Eloise Rover's single down the right line brought Peters home before the Saints could end the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, St. Lawrence tacked another run onto its total when McGinley doubled to left field and then came around to score on Allen's double to the same place.
Franciscan rallied for two runs in the seventh inning to tie the game at 3-3. With runners on second and third and two outs, Lauren Klechner's high fly ball to right field got lost in the sun, allowing both runners to score and tying the game.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Weisbarth singled to centerfield with one out. McGinley followed with a hard hit over the third baseman's head to put runners on first and second. After Weisbarth and McGinley both advanced a base, Welsh hit a walk-off single to left field to score Weisbarth to lift the Saints to victory.
In the second game of the day, St. Lawrence had runners in scoring position early, but Lawrence's pitcher Kara Vance and the Vikings' defense got out of the jams with back-to-back strikeouts in the second inning and a perfect throw to the plate to get a runner out in the third inning. Meanwhile, Lawrence was able to string hits together in the third inning to take a 1-0 lead, then added another run in the fifth en route to the 2-0 victory.
The Saints looked to strike first with three hits and a fielder's choice to load the bases in the second inning, but Vance struck out the next two batters to get out of the jam. Then in the third inning, Stratton led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Aisha O'Connor. Weisbarth drew a walk to put runners on first and second for McGinley, who continued her hot hitting with a single up the middle. Stratton tried to score from second base, but a perfect throw home from LU's centerfielder kept the Saints off the board.
Lawrence took a 1-0 lead in the third inning on back-to-back singles from Cathy Kaye and Alex Choido. An infield hit from Katie Schumacher put runners on the corners with two outs, but Plimpton and the Saints got out of the inning with a high fly ball.
The Vikings would get an insurance run in the fifth when Alissa Geipel led the inning off with a double down the left field line and would come around to score on a Shannon Murray's ground out to second base.
St. Lawrence landed a base runner to lead off the seventh inning, but Murray came in as relief for Vance, forcing a ground out and striking out two for the save. Vance earned the victory as she allowed six hits in six innings and struck out four. SLU pitcher Kyle Plimpton suffered the loss on the mound for St. Lawrence as she gave up six hits and two earned runs while striking out 11 batters.