NORTH ANDOVER, Mass.- The Merrimack softball team picked up a pair of Northeast-10 victories Wednesday afternoon at Warrior Diamond. The Warriors improved to 8-9 on the season and 3-1 in the league. The Hawks dropped to 8-9 overall and 0-2 in the conference.
Jamie Millett (Hudson, Mass.) led the way with three hits and six runs batted in on the day, including a grand slam in game one. Amanda Zanni (Reading, Mass.) also registered three hits for the Warriors in the doubleheader. Kelli Jo Deardorff (Bedford, Mass.) picked up both wins in the pitcher's circle while surrendering two runs and four hits with 13 strikeouts.
Merrimack opened the scoring with three runs in the bottom of the second in game one. Jaclyn Giovannini (Plano, Texas) led off with a single to the gap in right center field. Ashley Perry (Winchendon, Mass.) drove in the first run of the day with a double to the center field fence.
In the third inning, the Warriors manufactured six runs on four hits. Tawny Palmieri (Peabody, Mass.) and Monique Gosselin (Lawrence, Mass.) each raked singles to open the frame followed by a walk by Giovannini to load the bases. Kara Melillo (North Andover, Mass.) drew a walk to push the home team's fourth run of the game across the plate.
Millett stepped to the plate with the bases full of Warriors and sent the offering soaring over the left field fence for the grand slam, putting Merrimack ahead 8-0. Zanni followed with a double down the left field line and scored on a ground out by Jessica Fugazzotto (Newton, Mass.), extending the lead to 9-0.
Deardorff scattered two hits in game one and fanned six batters while allowing just one walk.
Merrimack scored three runs in the first inning in game two of the twin bill. Kristen LeMay (Shrewsbury, Mass.) drew a lead-off walk and advanced to second on a bunt single by Palmieri. LeMay and Palmieri each crossed the plate in the opening frame. Millett drove in the Warriors' third run of the inning with an RBI single.
The Hawks plated their first run of the day in the top of the second inning as Kat Scafidi doubled to left field to cut the home side's lead to 3-1.
In the third inning, Gosselin was issued a one-out walk and motored all the way home on a double to right center by Perry, restoring Merrimack's three run lead to 4-1.
Saint Anselm tacked on its second run of the contest in the top of the fourth as Liz Trafton homered to center field.
Deardorff went six and a third in game two to earn the victory, allowing two runs and striking out seven. Alie Thomas (Bedford, N.H.) shut the door by fanning a batter and inducing a pop fly to end the game.
"A great all-around effort today by our team. We had many players contribute offensively and we played stellar on the defensive side as a whole," said head coach Elaine Schwager. "These two wins were critical for us as are all of the games in the Northeast-10. Hopefully we can keep up the outstanding play this weekend with three conference doubleheaders."
Up next, Merrimack will visit Southern New Hampshire April 8, a doubleheader that was postponed from April 2. The Warriors will host Southern Connecticut State and New Haven April 9 and 10 at Warrior Diamond.