Stonehill Caps Regular Season With Split Against Franklin Pierce

Junior Megan Ruonavaara posted a three-hit shutout in Stonehill's game one win over Franklin Pierce today.

Skyhawks secure first round bye in next week's NE-10 Tournament

EASTON, Mass. (April 25, 2015) – The Stonehill College softball team wrapped up its 2015 regular season schedule this afternoon with a doubleheader split against Franklin Pierce University in Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division action at Gartland Field. Stonehill posted a 5-0 shutout victory in the opener, before falling 3-2 in game two.

The game one win combined with Saint Anselm College's 7-6 loss to Merrimack College ensures that the Skyhawks will receive a first round bye in next week's Northeast-10 Conference Tournament and open play with a second round contest next Thursday on the campus of top-seeded Southern New Hampshire University. Stonehill will take on the winner of the first round matchup between the third and fourth seeded teams from the Southwest Division.

Sophomore Michelle Carbone (Deer Park, New York/St. Anthony's) led the Skyhawk offense today, as she went 2-for-6 at the plate with a double, a home run, and three RBI. Junior Megan Staudle (New Windsor, New York/Cornwall Central) and sophomore Cassandra Squeri (New Providence, New Jersey/New Providence) recorded two hits and scored one run each, while classmate Jacklyn Oleksak (Massapequa, New York/Plainedge) hit her first collegiate home run.

Junior Megan Ruonavaara (Rocky Hill, Connecticut/Rocky Hill) got the start for Stonehill in the opener and tossed a three-hit shutout, improving 7-2 in the circle this season. Ruonavaara also recorded three scoreless frames of relief in game two and hit a two-run home run.

Junior Courtney Caputo (Stony Brook, New York/Ward Melville) paced Franklin Pierce with a 3-for-6 effort, while classmate Morgan Cahill (Saratoga Springs, New York/Saratoga) doubled twice and drove in two runs.

Junior Patricia Hansen (Mansfield, Massachusetts/Mansfield) earned the win in game two after going the distance and holding the Skyhawks to two runs on four hits.   

Stonehill 5, Franklin Pierce 0

The Skyhawks utilized a dominant pitching performance by Ruonavaara and a quick start on offense to earn a win in game one for its 20th victory of the season. Carbone and Oleksak each blasted home runs to lead the Skyhawk attack, while Ruonavaara turned in her fourth shutout of the spring.

Carbone staked the home team to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first with a towering solo home run to left field, and Ruonavaara stranded a pair of Ravens in scoring position in the top of the second. The Skyhawks took a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the inning, scoring four times on four hits.

After the first two batters were retired, sophomore Lianna Jordan (Staten Island, New York/St. Joseph by the Sea) drew a walk and Oleksak followed with a two-run homer to left center. Junior Lauren Esposito (Middlefield, Connecticut/Coginchaug) and Staudle kept the two-out rally going with singles, before Carbone plated them both with a two-run double.

Sophomore Michelle Carbone went 2-for-3 with a double, a home run and three RBI in game one.

Ruonavaara issued a walk in the third and allowed a single in the fourth, but the Ravens would not advance a runner into scoring position again until the fifth, when junior Julie Gallagher (Flanders, New Jersey/West Morris Mendham) reached on an error and moved up to second on a groundout. Ruonavaara got out of the inning unscathed, however, and retired the side in order in the sixth and seventh.

Franklin Pierce 3, Stonehill 2

Junior Sarah Ropiak (Acton, Massachusetts/Acton-Boxborough) got the start for Stonehill in game two and dropped to 11-8 with the loss after giving up three runs on three hits in four innings of work.

The Skyhawks took an early lead for the second consecutive contest, as Ruonavaara delivered a two-run homer in the bottom of the second inning, but Franklin Pierce answered with three runs in the third.

Freshman Jillian Ostrander (Glens Falls, New York/South Glens Falls) started the Ravens' rally with a leadoff walk, before advancing to second on a sacrifice and third on a single by Hansen. Franklin Pierce then successfully pulled off a double steal, with Ostrander crossing the plate for the Ravens' first run of the afternoon. Later in the inning, Cahill gave the visitors a 3-2 lead with a two-run double to right center.

Stonehill went down in order in the third in fourth, but had a chance to pull even in the fifth as Ropiak recorded a one-out double. Franklin Pierce maintained its one-run lead, however, as Hansen struck Oleksak out and got Esposito to fly out to end the threat. Staudle reached base on a bunt single in the sixth, but the Skyhawks were unable to advance a runner past first base the rest of the way as the Ravens earned a split.

Stonehill (20-14, 13-8 NE-10) will find out its NE-10 Tournament opponent following Tuesday's first round action. Franklin Pierce sees its season come to a close at 8-19 overall and 8-16 in conference play.

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