NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Powered by impressive pitching and a potent day at the plate, the Merrimack softball team posted a sweep over Bentley, winning by scores of 8-1 and 4-0 in Northeast-10 Conference Division play on Wednesday afternoon at the Warrior Softball Diamond.
Moving to 10-14 on the year and improving to 3-2 in NE-10 Divisional play, the Warriors will next face Saint Michael's on Saturday (April 13) on the road before rounding out the weekend with a second doubleheader against the Purple Knights on Sunday. The Falcons fell to 8-20 on the year and saw their division record drop to 1-7.
The Warrior offense posted nine hits at the plate and saw four different players leave the yard, and that was more than enough for senior Kelli Jo Deardorff (Bedford, Mass.), who went the distance for her fourth win of the year as the Warriors downed Bentley, 8-1, in game one.
Deardorff yielded just one run over seven innings while striking out six, as the quartet of Tawny Palmieri (Peabody, Mass.), Lindsay Gibbs (Acton, Mass.), Kelsey Francher (Weare, N.H.) and Jaclyn Giovannini (Plano, Texas) all recorded homers for the Navy and Gold.
Merrimack outhit the visitors by a slim 9-8 margin in the opener, but Deardorff kept the Falcons at bay while her defense was perfect behind her.
Palmieri finished the game with a 3-for-4 showing at the plate with a side-high two RBI, while seven different Warriors registered a hit.
Merrimack and Bentley were tied after an inning thanks to a solo shot from Gibbs. Then in the second, the Warriors exploded for five runs, as Francher started things off with a solo shot before Giovannini blasted a two-run bomb. Finally, Palmieri tallied another two-run homer to make it a 6-1 lead in favor of the hosts after two innings.
In the third, Deardorff would help her own cause on an RBI single up the middle before Palmieri drove I the final run of the game in the fourth, as Bentley would never threat as the Warriors cruised to the win in the opener.
While Merrimack's offense was not quite as potent in the late game, freshman Alexis Perry (Westford, Vt.) was just as sharp as Deardorff, helping the Warriors secure the sweep with a complete game, three-hit performance as Merrimack took game two by a 4-0 margin.
Junior Keaira Monet Perry (Bellingham, Mass.) led the way with two hits at the plate, while all four Merrimack runs were driven in by four different players.
Alexis Perry, meanwhile, was dominant, yielding just three hits and no walks while striking out two to pick up her second-career win. The defense behind her was spectacular again, as the Warriors posted consecutive games without recording an error Wednesday.
Most of the Warrior offense came in the first, as Merrimack hopped out to a 3-0 lead thanks to an RBI double from Giovannini and two more run-scoring plays by Palmieri and Francher.
That 3-0 lead held until the fifth, when Keaira Monet Perry singled to center to allow Gibbs to score.
Up by four, Alexis Perry never found herself in much trouble, as the rookie righty eased her way to the win in the circle while guiding the Warriors to a doubleheader sweep.