CLERMONT, Fla.- The Merrimack softball team defeated Taylor (Ind.) 5-1 in game one of Thursday's doubleheader at the National Training Center. The Trojans claimed a 6-5 victory in extra innings to wrap up the day. The Warriors move to 2-6 overall while Taylor remains even at 6-6.
Game one was highlighted by complete-game Kelli Jo Deardorff (Bedford, Mass.). Deardorff struck out three batters and did not allow an earned run to pick up her second win of the season.
The Merrimack bats came alive early as Monique Gosselin (Lawrence, Mass.) cranked a two-run home run for a quick 2-0 lead. The Warriors were kept scoreless until the sixth inning when Kara Melillo (North Andover, Mass.) raked a double and Tawny Palmieri (Peabody, Mass.) drew a walk to put a pair of runners on base. Curran Hubbard (Laconia, N.H.) connected on her first home run of the year, driving in three runs to give Merrimack a 5-0 edge.
In the second contest, the Warriors plated three runs in the first inning to grab a 3-0 lead. Jamie Millett (Hudson, Mass.) and Gosselin reached setting up Keaira Monet Perry (Bellingham, Mass.) for a three-run homer.
Merrimack pushed across its fourth run of the game in the fourth inning as Hubbard scored on a passed ball.
The Trojans scored their only run of the game in the sixth inning to cut the Warriors' lead to three, 4-1.
After tripling to right field, Jessica Fugazzotto (Newton, Mass.) crossed the plate on a passed ball in the sixth frame.
Taylor plated four unanswered runs to tie the game with two in the sixth and two in the seventh to force extra innings.
With the score knotted at 5-5 at the end of seven innings, Taylor tallied a run in the top of the eighth to put pressure on the Warriors in the home half of the inning. In the bottom of the eight, Palmieri advanced to third on a passed ball but the tying run was left stranded 60 feet from home plate.
Alex Gallant (Salem, N.H.) earned the start and went four innings and struck out one batter. Alie Thomas (Bedford, N.H.) pitched the fifth inning and fanned two. Deardorff closed out the game, pitching the final three frames and recording one strikeout.
Merrimack and Taylor are set for a one-game rematch March 25.