WARRIORS CONTINUE BUSY CONFERENCE SLATE WITH HOME OPENER TOMORROW VS. ASSUMPTION (3/5PM)
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – After using a two-run top of the sixth to lead the team to a victory in Game 1, the Merrimack College softball team watched a three-run lead slip away an inning later and had its rally fall short in Game 2, as the Warriors settled for a doubleheader split with Bentley on Wednesday afternoon in Waltham, Mass.
Score: Merrimack 2, Bentley 1 | Bentley 7, Merrimack 4
Records: Merrimack (8-12, 1-1 NE-10) | Bentley (8-6, 1-1 NE-10)
Location: Bentley Softball Field | Waltham, Mass.
How It Happened
Game 1 – Merrimack 2, Bentley 1
In what proved to be a pitcher's duel throughout, Merrimack finally got on the board in the top of the sixth with two runs and turned the ball over to freshman Haley Currie (Burlington, Mass.) with the go-ahead runs on base in the bottom of the sixth, as the rookie right-hander held on for the save to the Warriors a 2-1 win in Wednesday's opener.
Merrimack erased a 1-0 deficit after senior Kelsey Francher (Weare, N.H.) tripled in the top of the sixth to score classmate Keaira Monet Perry (Bellingham, Mass.); but before the inning was over, the Warriors would get one more thanks to some small ball, as senior Ashley Perry (Winchendon, Mass.) laid down a perfect bunt to drive in Francher for the game's deciding run an at-bat later.
Then, after sophomore Alexis Perry (Burlington, Vt.) went five innings allowing just a run and four hits, Bentley came to life after a walk and a single to put the pressure on the visitors. Currie would have none of it, striking out the first batter she faced before fanning two more in a 1-2-3 seventh to secure her second save of the year.
Game 2 – Bentley 7, Merrimack 4
After senior Allison Berthiaume (Berkley, Mass.) blasted a bases-clearing triple that gave Merrimack a 3-0 lead in the top of the second, Bentley would respond with four runs in the bottom of the third before adding important insurance runs in the fourth and fifth, as the Warriors fell, 7-4, in the late game Wednesday.
The Warriors would hop on Bentley starter Kelsey Smith, who was taken out of the game after surrendering three runs in just an inning and a third of action thanks to Berthiaume's three-bagger in the top of the second.
Smith's replacement, Halley McDevitt, kept the Warrior bats in check over the ensuing five innings and gave the home side an opportunity to get back into the game.
Bentley's rally started in the bottom of the third, as the Falcons got to Currie – Game 2's starter – for four runs as part of a four-hit inning. An inning later, Kelsey Kennedy smacked a solo shot to pump Bentley's lead to 5-3 before the hosts added two more runs in the fifth to make it 7-3.
Merrimack had its opportunities, stranding eight total base runners – including two more in the top of the seventh with a potential rally in shape. Francher singled in a run with two on and one out before she and Monet Perry moved up a base on an error.
With runners at second and third and the tying run at the plate and only one out, Bentley turned to reliever Kelly Ferris, who retired the final two batters of the game to secure the save and finalize the doubleheader split.
Inside The Numbers
- Merrimack finished 15-for-55 (.273) on the day at the plate, with Francher leading all Warriors with four hits
- Berthiaume's three RBI led the team, as she, Francher and Monet Perry all finished with one triple
- Merrimack was kept off the base paths and went 0-for-1 in stolen bases, while Bentley was 2-for-2 over the two games
- Currie finished with an impressive nine strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings over two games while yielding 11 hits in that span
Merrimack returns to action tomorrow (April 3) when it welcomes Assumption to town for its home opener. First pitch of a scheduled doubleheader is set for 3 p.m. from the Warrior Softball Diamond.