NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – After its furious late rally fell just short in game one, the Merrimack softball team settled for an afternoon doubleheader split by posting a 6-1 victory in the late game after dropping the opener, 6-5, against New Haven on Saturday afternoon at the Warrior Softball Diamond.
Moving to 7-13 overall on the year, Merrimack will round out the weekend with another doubleheader against Northeast-10 Conference foe Southern Connecticut on Sunday beginning at 12 p.m. New Haven moved to 16-7-1 on the year by virtue of the split.
Trailing by a 6-0 margin heading into its final at-bat, the Warriors rallied for five runs and had the tying run in scoring position, but starter Micah Stonesifer shut the door by striking out the final batter of the game, as the Chargers held on to hand Merrimack a 6-5 defeat to start the afternoon
Down by six runs, Merrimack strung together five hits in the bottom of the seventh and had the tying run 60 feet away, as junior Jaclyn Giovannini (Plano, Texas) blasted a two-RBI base hit to center field and advanced all the way to third after the throw home went out of play, making it a one-run game with two outs.
Following a lengthy delay over the interpretation of the ruling on the overthrow and the placement of the batter runner, Stonesifer went back to the circle and fanned the final batter of the game to end it. Sophomore Lindsay Gibbs (Acton, Mass.), junior Keaira Monet Perry (Bellingham, Mass.) and senior Helen Gillis (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) also were credited with RBI during the furious rally that fell just short.
Stonesifer earned the win while senior Kelli Jo Deardorff (Bedford, Mass.) took the loss after surrendering six runs over six innings, while senior Alie Thomas (Bedford, N.H.) tossed a scoreless seventh.
After three scoreless frames, New Haven edged ahead with a run in the fourth before tacking on four more runs in the fifth. Lucy Francisco highlighted the frame with a bases-clearing triple before Courtney Reed added one more on an RBI base knock. A solo homer in the sixth accounted for New Haven's final run of the game before Merrimack attempted its late rally in the seventh.
Merrimack held a 9-7 advantage in hits in game one, while Monet Perry led all players with three hits.
Down by a run in the bottom of the fourth, junior Ashley Perry (Winchendon, Mass.) sparked the Warriors with a two-run homer to cap off a five-run bottom of the fourth, as Merrimack went on to earn the doubleheader split with a 6-1 victory over New Haven in game two.
Ashley Perry led all Warriors with two RBI, while senior Tawny Palmieri (Peabody, Mass.) posted a multi-hit performance for the Navy and Gold.
That offense was enough to back freshman Alexis Perry (Westford, Vt.), who earned her first-career victory (1-5) as a Warrior after tossing a complete game, five-hit performance. The rookie struck out four and walked two over that span, while New Haven starter Nicole King lasted 3 2/3 innings while surrendering five runs – three earned – on seven hits.
After a solo homer gave the Chargers a 1-0 cushion in the top of the fourth, Merrimack responded instantly with six hits and five runs during the home half of the inning. Giovannini started the scoring with a base hit to right, scoring Monet Perry on the play, before scoring two batters later on a wild pitch.
Following an RBI single off the bat of junior Allison Berthiaume (Berkley, Mass.), Ashley Perry rounded out the inning with a two-run jack over the fence in left center, capping off the five-score inning for the home side.
Alexis Perry then helped herself by capping off her tremendous game two with her first collegiate home run – a solo shot over the right field wall – to wrap up a memorable outing and account for the final run of the game.