WORCESTER, Mass.- After numerous weather delays and three venue changes, the Merrimack softball team blanked New Haven 8-0 in the Northeast-10 Tournament behind a pair of homers from Monique Gosselin (Lawrence, Mass.). With the win, the Warriors improve to 28-18 on the year and advance to the title game Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. The Chargers fall to 34-16 with the loss and move on to play the winner of Sunday morning's game between Southern Connecticut and Adelphi with a spot in the finals on the line.
Merrimack did not waste any time before showcasing their offensive prowess. Millett picked up a one-out single to left and Tawny Palmieri (Peabody, Mass.) worked a walk after a lengthy at-bat. Gosselin launched her 15th homer of the season, a three-run shot to give Merrimack a 3-0 lead in the top of the first.
Kara Melillo (North Andover, Mass.) drew a base on balls and Giovannini sent a hard ground ball that was stabbed by the third baseman. An errant throw by the third baseman allowed Melillo and Giovannini to move up to second and third. Keaira Monet Perry (Bellingham, Mass.) laced a single to right to drive in a pair of runs, increasing the Warriors' advantage to 5-0.
In the top of the second inning, Palmieri singled up the middle with one away in the frame. Gosselin stepped to the plate and drilled her second four-bagger of the game, a two-run blast to left field to push the lead to 7-0.
New Haven applied pressure to Merrimack's edge as it loaded the bases with two outs. The Warriors' defense retired the next batter to escape the jam unscathed.
Millett led off the fourth with a solo home run down the left field line. The senior's fourth homer of the year wrapped up the scoring as the Warriors claimed an 8-0 advantage.
Kelli Jo Deardorff (Bedford, Mass.) tossed a complete game shutout to pick up her 20th win of the season on her 20th birthday. The sophomore struck out two batters while allowing three hits.
"Our players did a great job of remaining focused through all the delays and distractions. They came out and hit the ball hard early," said head coach Elaine Schwager. "Tomorrow is just another game and we need to treat it like an ordinary game so that we don't get away from our style of play."
Merrimack is looking to claim its first Northeast-10 Tournament title since 2002 and 12th in program history.