Softball Splits Twinbill at Franklin Pierce

RINDGE, NH- The Merrimack softball team traded wins on the road at Franklin Pierce Wednesday. The Warriors prevailed 11-3 in game one and dropped a 12-10 decision in the nightcap to move to 8-8 on the season and 2-2 in the Northeast-10 Conference. The Ravens progress to 8-9 overall with a 6-2 mark in league play.

"We played really well in game one and our run production was great today," said head coach Jill Karwoski. "We will look to make some adjustments as well as keep improving in certain areas with another game tomorrow."

Rookies Jenn Post (Orange, CT) and Lindsay Gibbs (Acton, MA) each drove in five RBIs on two hits in the doubleheader to lead Merrimack. Monique Gosselin (Lawrence, MA) and Tawny Palmieri (Peabody, MA) both landed five base hits on the day. Gosselin registered four RBIs while Palmieri plated two.

In the pitcher's circle, Kelli Jo Deardorff (Bedford, MA) logged 7.1 innings and fanned eight batters while allowing no runs. Alex Gallant (Salem, NH) struck out five batters in 2.1 innings of relief work.

In the first contest, the Warriors exploded for eight runs in the third inning to grab a commanding 8-0 lead. Merrimack's first three batters of the frame all reached base safely to load the bags. Gosselin laced a single to left to score two runs and advanced to second on the throw home. Curran Hubbard (Laconia, NH) followed with a sacrifice fly to right to score Jessica Fugazzotto (Newton, MA) from third.

After Deardorff drew a one-out walk, Post blasted her first collegiate home run to add three runs to the Warriors' advantage, 6-0. Nicole LoPilato (Medford, MA) launched her first career homer later in the inning to push Merrimack's edge to seven runs. Keaira Monet Perry (Bellingham, MA) smashed her second home run of the season after LoPilato's blast to cap off the scoring.

The hosts got a run back in the bottom of the frame as Jessica Furtado collected an RBI double to left.

The Warriors restored their lead to eight runs with a tally in the fourth. Post earned a walk with the bases loaded to record her fourth RBI of the game.

Franklin Pierce pushed a pair of runs across in the fifth inning. Jamie Wiley sent a two-out double to center to score two runs.

Post and Kristen McKenzie (Arlington, MA) each picked up RBI singles in the sixth frame as the visitors reclaimed an eight-run margin, 11-3.

Deardorff started game one and went 3.2 innings while striking out two. Gallant finished the contest, tossing the final 2.1 innings and fanning five.

In game two, Merrimack struck early with a four-run first inning. Palmieri and Hubbard each drew walks while Gosselin raked a single to fill the bases. Gibbs cleared the bags with a grand slam to left center.

The Ravens responded in the home half of the inning and captured a 5-4 lead. Wiley dropped in her second two-run double of the afternoon. Laura Eidam awarded Franklin Pierce its first lead of the twinbill with a three-run homer to right center.

The Warriors reclaimed the lead in the second frame, scoring a pair of runs to go ahead 6-5. Gosselin cracked her third home run of the year and 32nd of her career, tying her for second all-time, as two runs crossed the plate. Merrimack added two scores in the third to grab an 8-5 edge. Allison Berthiaume (Berkley, MA) singled to lead off the inning and came around to score as Palmieri hammered a two-out homer to right center.

The home side posted seven runs in the bottom of the third to take a 12-8 advantage. Jamie Vernier, Meaghan O'Neal and Jayme Bilafer all recorded RBIs in the third for the Ravens.

The visitors tacked on one run in the fourth and sixth to cut the deficit to two runs, 12-10. Gibbs singled up the middle in the fourth to drive in Gosselin. LoPilato and Berthiaume laced back-to-back doubles in the sixth to score the Warriors' 10th run of the contest.

Alie Thomas (Bedford, NH) started the nightcap and hurled two innings before Valerie Bauer (Salem, NH) worked 1/3 of a frame in relief. Deardorff closed the game with 3.2 scoreless innings and six strikeouts.

Merrimack will host local-rival UMass Lowell at Warrior Diamond March 29.