NORTH ANDOVER, MA- Junior Kelli Jo Deardorff (Bedford, MA) tossed two complete games to help the Merrimack softball team earned its first Northeast-10 doubleheader sweep of the season, downing Stonehill 3-2 and 6-3 Wednesday afternoon at Warrior Diamond. The Warriors improve to 12-17 on the season and 6-11 in league play. The Skyhawks dip to 17-11 overall and 10-10 in the Northeast-10 Conference.
Tawny Palmieri (Peabody, MA) led the Merrimack offense with four base hits and two runs scored on the day. Curran Hubbard (Laconia, NH) collected three hits and two RBIs in the two-game set while Jenn Post (Orange, CT) picked up two base knocks and drove in three RBIs. Monique Gosselin (Lawrence, MA) registered a pair of RBIs on the afternoon.
"Today we played extremely well and we battled at the plate all day long," said head coach Jill Karwoski. "I was proud of the effort put forth by our team today and we will look to continue our strong play tomorrow with another important doubleheader."
In game one, Merrimack seized an early one-run edge as Palmieri crossed the plate on a sacrifice fly by Gosselin in the bottom of the first. The Warriors added a run in the second frame as Hubbard blasted a lead-off homer over the left field fence to extend the advantage to 2-0.
Stonehill knotted the contest at 2-2 in the third inning on three base knocks. Christina Swider and Chelsea Stryker picked up back-to-back singles to start the frame. Lindsay McKillop cleared the bases with a two-run single up the middle to level the score.
The hosts reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the sixth as Palmieri eluded a tag at the plate to give Merrimack a 3-2 edge. The junior led off the inning with a single down the left field line and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Ashley Perry (Winchendon, MA). Gosselin followed with a base knock to left to allow Palmieri to motor home from second.
In the top of the seventh, the Skyhawks threatened to tie the game as they pushed a runner to third with two outs. The Warriors sealed the victory as Ashley Perry hauled in the final out of the opening tilt. The sophomore snagged a low line drive with a diving effort to end the game.
Deardorff tossed a complete game while allowing two runs and eight hits while racking up five strikeouts.
Merrimack exploded for three runs in the home half of the second inning to grab a 3-0 lead in game two. With runners on the corners, Post launched a three-run home run to centerfield to drive in Lindsay Gibbs (Acton, MA) and Alex Gallant (Salem, NH).
The Warriors tacked on a run in the third frame to increase the margin to 4-0. Jaclyn Giovannini (Plano, TX) landed a one-out double down the left field line and Jessica Fugazzotto (Newton, MA) entered as a pinch runner at second base. Hubbard laced an RBI single to the gap in right center to plate Fugazzotto.
Stonehill cut the deficit in half, 4-2, in the top of the fourth inning as Lindsay McKillop hit a two-run homer to left center. The visitors looked to even the score with two runners in scoring position and two outs in the fourth but Deardorff snagged a grounder right back at her to record the final out of the frame.
Merrimack expanded its lead to 6-2 in the fifth with a pair of runs. Giovannini crossed the plate on a throwing error at first base as Keaira Monet Perry (Bellingham, MA) hit a come-backer to the pitcher. Gallant drove in the Warriors' second run of the frame with a double to the corner in right field.
The Skyhawks got a run back in the top of the seventh frame. Kaitlin Miller scampered home on a one-out groundout by Courtney Marchand.
Deardorff improved to 5-7 on the season in the pitcher's circle with her second victory of the day. The junior hurled her second complete game of the afternoon, scattering four hits and striking out three batters.
Merrimack remains at home as it hosts Southern NH April 12 in a Northeast-10 doubleheader.