TAMPA, Fla. - The Saint Joseph's softball team topped UMass Lowell, 5-3, in the Hawks' first game of the Michelle Smith Spring Break Tournament Friday afternoon at the University of South Florida.
Saint Joseph's (11-4) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth on Ashley Alden's team-leading fourth home run of the season. The Hawks' senior drilled a two-out, two-run shot that scored second baseman Sarah Yoos.
UMass Lowell (8-8) answered back with a two-run home run of its own against SJU starter Nikki Alden in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game at 2-2.
The Hawks regained the lead in the top of the fifth, taking advantage of three hits and a pair of errors to score three times. Left fielder Melissa Ruf doubled with one out and came around to score as UMass Lowell mishandled a single by Nicole Palase to make it 3-2 in favor of SJU.
A two-out single by Yoos scored Palase to make it 4-2, while Yoos came around to score the third run of the inning on a fielding error by the center fielder off a ball smacked by Ashley Alden.
The River Hawks loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth to chase Nikki Alden, but classmate Madison Clarke held the opposition in check. UMass Lowell would tally a run on a fielding error in the fifth, but that would be all it would get as Clarke and the Hawks' defense allowed just one base runner in the final two innings to earn the victory.
In the circle, Clarke improved to 7-1 as she allowed one hit and struck out two over 2.2 innings of scoreless work. Nikki Alden allowed two earned runs over 4.1 innings while striking out two.