FAIRFAX, Va. - The Saint Joseph's softball team's 2017 season came to a close as the third seed Hawks fell to second seed Massachusetts in the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 Championship at the George Mason Softball Complex.
In a pitchers' duel between SJU junior Madison Clarke and the Minutewomen's Meg Colleran, it was an error in the fifth by the Hawks that led to the lone runs of the game.
With runners at second and third, Saint Joseph's couldn't handle the throw at first allowing both Minutewomen to score to take a 2-0 lead.
Saint Joseph's (25-28) would bring the tying run to the plate in both the sixth and seventh, but unfortunately couldn't get runs in as Massachusetts held on for the win.
In the circle, Clarke was stellar as she held the Minutewomen to just four hits over 6.0 innings, while striking out three to finish the season at 8-8.
In the first game of the day, Saint Joseph's downed sixth seed George Mason, 4-1.
George Mason returned the favor in the top of the second as Erin Calpin scored from second on a two-out bloop single to right by Katherine Marsh to tie the game at 1-1.
Saint Joseph's regained the lead with a three-run bottom of the third to open a 4-1 advantage. Sophomore pinch runner Raelynn Genovese scored the first Hawk run as she scored from second on a single down the left field line by sophomore Taryn Grober. Freshman Molly Kapala followed with a two-run double to the wall in center that scored Madeline Brunck and Grober.
Sophomore pitcher Ashley Ventura and the Hawks' defense kept the Patriots quiet from there as Ventura allowed two hits over the final four innings to pick up the win and move to 15-13 on the year in a relief appearance. Clarke tossed three strong innings in the start, allowing just one run on four hits.
For the season, Ventura posted the fourth most innings pitched in a single-season (197.0), tied for fourth in saves (three) and appearances (36).
Brunck capped her SJU career 29th all-time in career hits with 121, while sophomore Amanda Kulp set a new single-season record for stolen bases with 31.