Softball Sweeps AIC in Season Finale on Senior Day, 8-7 & 4-3

NORTH ANDOVER, MA- The Merrimack softball team claimed a pair of one-run victories over American International College Saturday afternoon in the final doubleheader of the 2012 campaign on Senior Day. The Warriors prevailed 8-7 and 4-3 to finish the year with a 19-23 overall record and a 13-17 mark in the Northeast-10 Conference. The Yellow Jackets sink to 18-26 on the season and 12-18 in league play.

Between games, the Merrimack softball team honored its two seniors, Alex Gallant (Salem, NH) and Monique Gosselin (Lawrence, MA).

"Today was a great way for us to close out the season, especially on Senior Day," said head coach Jill Karwoski. "We battled hard all year and we persevered today after falling behind early in both games. I am proud of the way this team played all season."

Merrimack was led by Tawny Palmieri (Peabody, MA) with three hits on the day, including two homers. Jaclyn Giovannini (Plano, TX) and Keaira Monet Perry (Bellingham, MA) each drove in three RBIs in the twinbill on two base hits. Gosselin and Palmieri each crossed the plate four times on the afternoon.

The Yellow Jackets picked up an early 3-0 lead as Beth Grimes belted a three-run homer in the first inning. The visitors added a pair of runs in the second on Sarah Calgreen two-run home run.

American International extended the margin to seven as it took a 7-0 advantage in the top of the fourth. Calgreen registered her second two-run homer of the game after Lindsay Erickson led off the frame with a single.

The Warriors got on the board in the fourth inning with a pair of scores. Giovannini laced a double to left center to drive in Gosselin and Ashley Perry with no outs.

Merrimack cut the deficit to one run in the fifth, plating four runs to pull the score to 7-6. Palmieri tagged up and scored on a foul out by Giovannini with the bases loaded. Perry followed with a three-run blast to left to clear the bases.

The hosts knotted the contest at 7-7 in the home half of the sixth. Palmieri launched a solo homer to left center for the equalizer.

The Warriors captured their 18th victory of the season in walk-off fashion, scoring the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh. Gosselin drew a lead-off walk to start the inning. Keaira Perry sent a hard grounder to third with one out which the third baseman bobbled. After recovering, the Yellow Jackets' third baseman threw the ball beyond the reach of the first baseman to allow Gosselin to motor home for the game-winner.

Kelli Jo Deardorff (Bedford, MA) started the game and tossed four innings while recording three strikeouts. Valerie Bauer (Salem, NH) earned her first collegiate win as she pitched three innings of relief on the day while allowing one hit and no runs.

In the Warriors' final regular season tilt, American International jumped out to a quick 1-0 edge. Calgreen drove the second pitch of the game over the fence in right.

Merrimack leveled the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the second inning. Keaira Perry opened the frame with a single to left. Allison Berthiaume (Berkley, MA) raked a two-out single to left center to drive in Perry from second.

The home team seized a 2-1 advantage in the third as Palmieri led off the inning with her team-leading 12th home run of the year.

The visitors tied the game in the fourth as Stephanie Belanger scampered home with two away in the inning.

The Yellow Jackets grabbed their first lead of the contest in the top of the fifth, 3-2, since claiming a 1-0 edge in the opening frame. Belanger plated Calgreen from third as she rolled a groundout to the right side of the infield.

Gosselin pulled Merrimack even at 3-3 with one out in the home half of the inning with an RBI double to right center, driving in Palmieri from first. Gosselin scored the go-ahead run later in the frame as she scooted home on a passed ball.

Deardorff tossed her 11th complete game of the 2012 campaign to finish with an 11-9 record. The junior racked up nine strikeouts in the second contest of the day.

The Warriors capped off the season in 10th place in the Northeast-10 Conference standings.