WARRIORS REBOUND FROM GAME 1 LOSS WITH 5-4, FIVE-INNING WIN VS. MOLLOY
CLERMONT, Fla. – After dropping a one-run (4-3) decision to Slippery Rock in its Monday morning opener, the Merrimack College softball team responded with a 5-4 victory against Molloy that was shortened by rain, as the Warriors split a two-game set for the third straight day in a row at the NTC Spring Games in Florida.
Score: Slippery Rock 4, Merrimack 3 | Merrimack 5, Molloy 4 (F/5 - Rain)
Records: Merrimack (3-8) | Slippery Rock (4-6) | Molloy (1-4)
Location: Hancock Park/Nat'l Training Center | Clermont, Fla.
What They Said
Head Coach Jim Cardello: "I'm proud of our team for staying tough and positive throughout the rain to earn a split of today's games."
How It Happened vs. Slippery Rock
Merrimack held one-run lead heading into the sixth inning, but Slippery Rock charged back with a run in the sixth before walking off with the win on a game-ending double in the bottom of the seventh to stun the Warriors, 4-3, in Monday's opener.
After falling behind by two runs early, the Warriors dug themselves out of a 2-0 hole with a squeeze play in the top of the second and took the lead with two tallies in the top of the fourth.
Senior Allison Berthiaume (Berkley, Mass.) laid down a perfect sacrifice to drive in classmate Kelsey Francher (Weare, N.H.) in the second before junior Lindsay Gibbs (Acton, Mass.) plated a run on a groundout during the fourth. Later that inning, freshman Haley Currie (Burlington, Mass.), who entered the game to pitch in relief early in the contest, helped her own cause with a run-scoring single to push the Navy and Gold up, 3-2.
But following a scoreless fifth, Slippery Rock smacked a game-tying solo homer to draw even before Katie Kaiser drove a one-out double down the left field line to account for the game-deciding run in the bottom of the seventh.
Inside The Numbers
- Four Warriors combined for six hits in the opener, highlighted by senior Keaira Monet Perry (Bellingham, Mass.) and Currie each finishing 2-for-3
- As a team, Merrimack went 6-for-25 (.240) at the plate while stranding six runners and 0-for-1 on the base paths
- Slippery Rock's pitching staff combined for nine strikeouts while Currie finished with three K's and seven hits allowed for the Warriors
How It Happened vs. Molloy
Powered by one of its best single-inning outputs this season, Merrimack roared out to a four-run lead and withheld Molloy down the stretch before the skies opened up, as the Warriors answered a disappointing loss at day's beginning with a confidence-building 5-4 victory on Monday afternoon.
The story of the game was Merrimack's torrid start, as the Navy and Gold plated four runs on four hits in the second frame to set the tone early. Merrimack would add one more run in the third before the Lions mounted a charge of their own.
After junior Stephanie Lapierre (Berlin, Conn.) doubled in the game's first run, senior Jessica Fugazzotto (Newton, Mass.) cleared the bases an extra-base blast to center; the speedster was thrown out trying to stretch the double into a triple but the damage had already been done, giving Merrimack a 4-0 edge after two frames.
Molloy would answer with a run in the top half of the third before Merrimack benefitted from a pair of throwing miscues during the same play in the bottom of the third, equipping the Warriors with a 5-1 advantage at that point.
After getting two more runs back in the fourth, Molloy – trailing 5-3 at that point – came to bat in the top of the fifth and promptly put two runners on thanks to back-to-back singles against sophomore Alexis Perry (Westford, Vt.). The right-hander induced a popup to get a second out on the board, but an error in the outfield brought in one run and Molloy gambled by attempting to send the game-tying tally in during the same sequence.
Merrimack's defense, however, recovered from the error and gunned down that base runner during a rundown between third and home to end the inning.
After the Warriors were unable to add any further insurance in the bottom of the fifth, the skies opened up; with five innings already in the books, the game had already gone the required number of innings to be considered official and thus was called after five frames.
Inside The Numbers
- Merrimack strung together six hits while Molloy finished with eight; each side committed two errors apiece
- Perry took the win after yielding three earned runs over five innings with two strikeouts and a walk against the 24 batters she faced
- Gibbs was Merrimack's leader at the plate, finishing 2-for-2 with a run scored; Fugazzotto's three RBI were also a game-high while Francher boasted the team's lone stolen base
Merrimack will enjoy an off day tomorrow before returning to action on Wednesday (March 19) with two more early games starting with a rematch with Slippery Rock at 9 a.m. The Warriors will then return to the diamond to face Illinois Springfield at 11 a.m.