NORTH ANDOVER, MA – Junior Kara Melillo (North Andover, MA) of the Merrimack College softball team swatted three home runs in a doubleheader sweep of the UMass-Lowell Saturday afternoon on Volpe Field.
Had she not been intentionally walked three times, the damage could have been much more severe for the visitors.
"Kara was simply sensational at the plate today," said head coach Elaine Schwager. "She has done an incredible job handling six pitchers from behind the plate as well."
Game one saw the home team fall behind early, 2-0, but heavy hitting gave way to an 8-6 victory. In a hotly contested game two, the Warriors pulled ahead 5-0 but squeaked out a 6-5 win when all was said and done.
With the pair of wins, Merrimack improves to 3-1 in Conference play and 7-10 overall. UMass-Lowell falls to 10-12 and 2-2 in the Northeast-10.
In game one, Melillo erased a 2-0 River Hawks deficit with a three-run blast in the bottom half of the first inning. Next time up for Melillo, she drove a two-run homer over centerfield to bring home senior Casey Conetta (Darien, CT).
Sophomore Alex Gallant (Salem, NH) earned her second win on the season, allowing five hits, five runs and striking out two batters. Freshman Kelli Jo Deardorff (Bedford, MA) pitched 3.2 solid innings of relief to help close the door on the River Hawks. Deardorff faced 15 batters and allowed one run on three hits.
In game two, senior Atlee Cahill (Gloucester, MA) picked up her first win of the year on the mound in 5.0 innings. Freshman Courtney Parker (Bellingham, MA) spelled Cahill with two strong innings for her first save of the year, allowing one hit over 2.0 innings.
"Courtney came in with the bases loaded and did exactly what she needed to do for us," said Schwager. "It was great for her to get her first career save too."
While Melillo smacked her third home run in the fifth inning of game two, sophomore Monique Gosselin (Lawrence, MA) provided much of the Warrior offense with a pair of RBIs in the bottom of the second as part of a four-run half inning.
Merrimack returns to action on Wednesday, April 7 at Saint Anselm College (8-10, 1-3 NE-10) for a 3:00pm doubleheader with the Hawks.
Said Schwager of the upcoming Conference schedule, "we are just taking one game at a time right now, but looking forward to facing Saint Anselm to start next week."