Norton’s two homers lead SFU to 8-5 win over LIU Brooklyn


 Hayley Norton (Spring Grove, Pa./Spring Grove)’s second homer of the game gave the Saint Francis Softball team a lead in the sixth inning on its way to an 8-5 win over LIU Brooklyn in the first game of the NEC Tournament.  The Red Flash improved to 37-17 overall, while the Blackbirds dropped to 20-28 on the season.
The Red Flash moved onto the winner’s bracket of the NEC Tournament.  Saint Francis meets the winner of the Central Connecticut State-Sacred Heart matchup tomorrow at 10 a.m.
Saint Francis has now won 36 straight games against NEC opponents, tying Florida State (2016-18) for the fifth-longest streak in NCAA Division I history.  The Red Flash won its 17th straight game, the longest current streak in the nation.  SFU also won its 20th straight home game.
The Red Flash hit five homers on the day, raising its season total to 78, just three away from the season record set by the 2016 squad.  SFU has hit at least five homers in three different games this year.  Hayley Norton (Spring Grove, Pa./Spring Grove) hit two homers, to raise her season total to 13, while Taylor Hoover (Phillipsburg, Ohio/Northmont), Sierra McKee (DuBois, Pa./DuBois) and Jordan Seneca (Plum, Pa./Plum) each hit one.
Abby Trahan (Kaplan, La./Kaplan) started in the circle for the Red Flash.  She picked up her 28th win of the season, going all seven innings.  Trahan allowed five runs, three earned, on 10 hits, while striking out three.  Trahan is now only one win away from the NEC season record and six strikeouts away from the SFU season mark.
Victoria Lowe got the start for the Blackbirds.  In 5.1 innings, she gave up eight runs on nine hits.  Lowe struck out four and walked four batters.  In two-thirds of an inning, Haley Irvis struck out both batters.
The Red Flash scored eight runs on nine hits.  Norton went three-for-four with two homers, including a solo shot and a two-run shot.  Sierra McKee (DuBois, Pa./DuBois) had two hits, including a two-run homer, while Taylor Hoover (Phillipsburg, Ohio/Northmont) added a two-run homer.  Jordan Seneca (Plum, Pa./Plum) had a solo shot, and scored two runs.
LIU Brooklyn had five runs on 10 hits.  Nereyda Gutierrez had a two-run homer, while Patricia Griffin contributed three hits, including a double, while Kiana Cisneros had two hits, including an RBI double.  Evie Claussell had an RBI single, while Victoria Zamora singled and scored two runs.
The Blackbirds got on the board in the top of the second.  After singles by Ryleigh Bermea and Cisneros, Claussell sent a single to left to drive in Bermea from second.
The Red Flash answered with a run in the bottom half.  With one out, Seneca launched a moonshot over the wall in left, and into the parking lot, for her sixth of the year, to even the game at 1-1 after two innings.
LIU Brooklyn re-took the lead in the third inning.  Following a double by Griffin and a hit-by-pitch by Zamora, a grounder by Gutierrez was misplayed to allow Griffin to cross the plate.  Cisneros followed with a double to the wall in left-center to drive in Zamora and give LIU a 3-1 advantage.
Saint Francis gained the lead with four runs, on two homers, in the fourth.  Seneca drew a leadoff walk.  Hoover then worked a 3-2 count before crushing a ball over the wall in left.  Cheyenne McKee (DuBois, Pa./DuBois) was hit by a pitch before Norton blasted a 1-2 pitch to left, her 13th of the season, to give SFU a 5-3 lead.  
The Blackbirds tied the game in the fifth.  Following a single by Griffin, Gutierrez homered to left to even the game at 5-5.
Saint Francis re-took the lead in the bottom of the sixth.  With one out, Norton blasted her second homer of the game, this time to right to break the tie.  After Madison Cabell (Ivor, Va./Southampton) drew a walk, Sierra McKee (DuBois, Pa./DuBois) launched a 2-2 pitch over the wall in center.  The Red Flash led 8-5 after six innings.

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