SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The Bryant University softball team struggled against Northeast Conference-leading Saint Francis U., as the Bulldogs were held scoreless in back-to-back games on Saturday afternoon in Smithfield.
In the bottom of the first, the Bulldogs (10-32, 5-6) loaded the bases but they came up empty, as the Red Flashes' (36-9, 9-0 NEC) starting pitcher Ethel Santai fanned one in the frame. Santai went on to throw her second no-hitter of the season.
The Red Flash took an early lead in the top of the second, scoring three runs. With runners on first and second, junior Gianna Pizzano (Saugus, Mass.) turned a double play, tagging third, before throwing the runner out at first.
With two outs and a runner on first and third, Halle Marion singled to second base, plating Sierra McKee. Kindra Witthus followed with an RBI single down the left field line to stretch the lead to two, 2-0. With two outs and the bases loaded, freshman Gabrielle Ermish (Pottstown, Pa.) walked Jordan Seneca, allowing Witthus to score from third, pushing the visitors' lead to three, 3-0.
Both teams were quiet through the following two innings until the Red Flash put together an explosive sixth inning, scoring six runs off three hits. With two outs and runners on first and second, Seneca doubled to left center, allowing Kelsie Marconi to score. Sierra McKee pushed the margin to nine, 9-0, after sending a three-RBI homer over the fence in right center.
With a chance to push the game to seven innings, the Bulldogs went down in order and the Red Flash took game one, 9-0, in six innings.
Santai threw her second no-hitter of the season, while the Red Flash totaled nine runs off nine hits. Witthus went 2-for-2, while Hayley Norton and Sierra McKee went 2-for-4. Sierra McKee finished with a team-high three RBI and one homer.
Santai threw five strikeouts in six innings, while Ermish recorded the loss in the circle, allowing all nine runs off nine hits. Ermish fanned three batters in 5.2 innings.
The Red Flash (37-9, 10-0 NEC) got out to another early start, taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the first after Madison Cabell hit a RBI sacrifice fly to left field.
The Bulldogs (10-33, 5-7) went down in order in the first three innings, while SFU pushed their advantage to five in the top of the second. Cheyenne McKee hit a two-RBI single through the left side, plating Marion and Mikayla Bower. Seneca then hit a two-RBI homer to center field, marking her first on the day and 17th of the season.
The Red Flashes' 5-0 lead held through the fourth inning, after the Bulldogs came up empty off senior Lauren Keast's (Holliston, Mass.) double to right center in the bottom of the fourth.
In the top of the fifth, SFU came out firing as Seneca left off where she started, leading off with a solo shot over the centerfield fence. Norton singled to left center, setting up Cabell for the two-RBI homer to right center to give the Red Flash a commanding 8-0 lead.
Redshirt sophomore Brandi Burgin (Santa Clarita, Calif.) checked in on the mound, dishing out back-to-back strikeouts to end the fifth.
Sophomore Kaleigh Goulart (Marion, Mass.) lead off the top of the fifth with a double to left center, but Abby Trahan struck two out swinging, helping the Red Flash stay perfect in NEC play with an 8-0 win over the Bulldogs in game two.
Goulart and Keast earned the Bulldogs two hits in the contest, while the Red Flash totaled 11. Seneca went 3-for-3 with two runs and three RBI.
Ketarah DeVries moved to 10-5 in the circle after allowing no runs off one hit, while striking out five batters in four innings. Sophomore Colby Norris (Toano, Va.) was dealt the loss, letting up five runs off seven hits in two innings.
The Bulldogs will look to bounce back in an in-state non-conference doubleheader at Rhode Island on Wednesday, April 26, beginning at 3 p.m.