WALTHAM, Mass. – Senior center fielder Jackie Gauthier (Braintree/Braintree HS) and sophomore shortstop Alex Borrelli (Salem, N.H./Central Catholic HS) each drove in four runs, and both Gauthier and junior left fielder Shannon Connor (West Haven, Conn./West Haven HS) reached the century mark in career hits, as Bentley University swept a tripleheader from St. Michael's College in Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division softball Sunday afternoon at Bentley.
The scores were 10-0 in a run-shortened five-inning game, 1-0 and 5-2. The first game was suspended in the first inning Saturday and played before Sunday's scheduled doubleheader.
The sweep, coupled with Saint Anselm College's 5-0 win at Stonehill College, qualified the Falcons for the Northeast-10 championships for the first time since 1987. Bentley, 11-6 over the last 18 days, improved to 20-17 overall and 12-9 in divisional play.
Bentley received outstanding all day with the only runs scored by St. Michael's (1-34, 0-21 Northeast) coming with two outs in the last inning of the third game. Grad student Carly Taitz (Blue Point, N.Y./Bayport-Blue Point HS) pitched a five-inning four-hit shutout in the opener, the fourth of her career.
Sophomore lefty Kelly Ferris (Seymour, Conn./Seymour HS) won both the second and third games to improve to 6-3 on the season. She combined with Halley McDevitt (San Ramon, Calif./San Ramon Valley HS) on a five-hitter in game two, retiring all four batters she faced while her team gave her a walk-off run in the seventh. In game three, she struck out four and scattered five hits in a complete-game effort.
The first game saw Bentley jump out front with four runs in the first inning. Gauthier had a sacrifice fly, Borrelli had a two-run double and senior right fielder Chelsea Tamuk (Port Jefferson, N.Y./ Earl L. Vandermeulen HS) had an infield RBI single.
The Falcons broke it open with six more in the third, the big blow being a bases-loaded triple to center by Gauthier.
Bentley totaled 10 hits in that one, including two apiece for Tamuk, freshman designated player Kelsey Kennedy (Bedford, N.H./Bedford HS) and sophomore catcher Jill Raia (Montville, N.J./ Morristown-Beard HS).
In game two, Connor led off the bottom of the seventh with a single through the left side, just the Falcons' second hit off senior Laura McCormack (Natick). An attempted pick-off throw hit her in the back and Connor was advanced to third after the ball went out of play. One batter later, she scored the walk-off on Borrelli's sacrifice fly to center.
The finale was scoreless into the sixth inning as both Ferris and St. Michael's senior Lea Gipson (Bridport, Vt.) each allowed only one hit through five.
Things changed in the bottom of the sixth when Bentley erupted for five runs, four of which were unearned. After an error and two walks loaded the bases, Connor singled down the left field line for her 100th career hit and a 2-0 lead. Borrelli added a two-run single to center and Raia had an RBI single to left.
Gauthier's 100th hit was a double to left in the first inning.
The single-elimination conference championships will get underway Tuesday with Bentley playing at third-seeded Merrimack College.