Softball Claims Crucial Doubleheader Sweep at Bentley, 8-3 & 9-5

WALTHAM, MA- The Merrimack softball team secured a pair of victories on the road at Bentley Tuesday afternoon. After prevailing 8-3 and 9-5, the Warriors improved to 15-20 on the season and 9-14 in the Northeast-10 Conference. The Falcons fall to 8-26 overall and 6-20 in league play with the two decisions.

"We needed these two wins today and our team went out and played really well today," said head coach Jill Karwoski. "With only a few games remaining this season, every game is critical and it is important that we put forth our best effort day in and day out."

Keaira Monet Perry (Bellingham, MA) led Merrimack with five base hits and three RBIs on the day. Allison Berthiaume (Berkley, MA) collected four base knocks in the doubleheader and plated three RBIs. Nicole LoPilato (Medford, MA) registered three RBIs on two hits while scoring two runs in the twinbill. Tawny Palmieri (Peabody, MA) and Ashley Perry (Winchendon, MA) each chipped in with three hits on the day.

Kelli Jo Deardorff (Bedford, MA) allowed no earned runs in 11.1 innings pitched between the two games. Deardorff picked up two strikeouts on the afternoon and earned both wins to move to 8-8 on the year in the pitcher's circle.

Merrimack opened the scoring with a run in the top of the third inning. Palmieri laced an RBI single to center to plate LoPilato from second.

The Warriors add a run in the fourth Keaira Perry singled through the left side of the infield to drive in Monique Gosselin (Lawrence, MA), doubling the visitors' lead to 2-0.

Merrimack expanded its advantage to five runs with a three-run frame in the sixth. Gosselin scampered home on a wild pitch before Keaira Perry picked up her second RBI of the game with a double to center. Gabby Rivers (Syracuse, NY) tallied the Warriors fifth run of the contest as she crossed the plate on a fielding error.

Bentley answered with three runs in the home half of the inning to cut the deficit to 5-3. Megan Blier erased the shutout bid with an RBI double down the line in left. Kelly Sanborn followed with a two-run single up the middle.

The visitors restored the margin to five, 8-3, with a trio of runs in the top of the seventh. Palmieri tagged up and scored on a foul-out by Gosselin before Berthiaume drove in Jessica Fugazzotto (Newton, MA) with a sacrifice bunt. After Merrimack loaded the bases, LoPilato drew a walk to allow Hubbard to trot home.

Deardorff hurled her eighth complete game of the year in the pitcher's circle and scattered five hits while striking out one batter.

In game two, the Warriors grabbed an early lead by using a five-run burst in the top of the first inning. Keaira Perry singled to left to drive in Merrimack's first run of the nightcap, plating Ashley Perry from second. Berthiaume raked a two-run double to left and LoPilato blasted a home run to score a pair of runs.

The Falcons sliced into the visitors' lead with three scores in the bottom of the frame. Laura McDonough singled down the right field line to get the home team on the board. Sanborn doubled to center, driving in a pair of runs and drawing Bentley to within two runs of tying the score.

The hosts pulled to within a run, 5-4, in the third inning. Erica Thibodeau scored her second run of the game as she scooted home on a wild pitch.

The Warriors pushed a pair of runs across the plate in the top of the fourth to extend their edge to 7-4. Alex Gallant (Salem, NH) led off the inning with a triple to right and came around to score on a fielding error by the right fielder. Ashley Perry plated Merrimack second run of the frame with a sacrifice fly to center that scored Palmieri.

The visiting team tacked on a run in the fifth to claim an 8-4 advantage. Berthiaume scored on a fielding error by the shortstop that allowed Gallant to reach first safely.

The Warriors added a tally in the seventh to increase the gap to five, 9-4. Ashley Perry laced an RBI single to right to score Gallant from second base.

The Falcons notched a run in the home half of the seventh to minimize Merrimack's lead to 9-5. Shannon Connor crossed the plate on a throwing error by the shortstop.

Alie Thomas (Bedford, NH) pitched 2.2 innings in her 15th start of the 2011-12 campaign and racked up three strikeouts. Deardorff tossed the final 4.1 frames while scattering one unearned run on three hits.

The Warriors will open up a seven-game home-stand Wednesday, April 18 as they host UMass Lowell at 4 pm. The game was rescheduled from April 12 when the second game of a doubleheader was halted due to darkness.