WARRIORS JUMP TWO SPOTS INTO THIRD PLACE AFTER DOUBLEHEADER SWEEP VS. STONEHILL
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – After dominating Game 1 with seven runs in the first two innings of play, the Merrimack College softball team wrapped up two huge victories over second-place Stonehill with a 3-1 win in Game 2, as the Warriors jumped from fifth place to third place with a huge doubleheader sweep against the Skyhawks on Monday afternoon at the Warrior Softball Diamond.
Score: Merrimack 7, Stonehill 0 (G1) | Merrimack 3, Stonehill 1 (G2)
Records: Merrimack (17-18, 10-7 NE-10) | Stonehill (18-20 | 13-10 NE-10)
Location: Warrior Softball Diamond | North Andover, Mass.
NE-10 Playoff Picture
Top-four qualify for NE-10 Championships; Divisional records shown
1. Saint Anselm (9-4)
2. So. New Hampshire (11-5)
3. Merrimack (10-7) Holds head-to-head tiebreaker over Stonehill
4. Stonehill (10-7)
5. Bentley (9-7)
6. Assumption (7-9)
What They Said
Head Coach Jim Cardello: "Pitching was key in both games, and we got some timely hitting and great defense. We need to keep our success going tomorrow to stay ahead of Stonehill."
How It Happened
Game 1 – Merrimack 7, Stonehill 0
Powered by a game-high five RBI off the bat of senior Jaclyn Giovannini (Plano, Texas), as well as two more from sophomore Brittany Razo (Anaheim, Calif.), Merrimack powered its way in front with three runs in the bottom of the first before tallying four more in the second to set the tone, while freshman right-hander Haley Currie (Burlington, Mass.) kept Stonehill in check over seven innings to give the Warriors a 7-0 win in Game 1 Monday.
After a scoreless top of the first, Merrimack hopped aboard with three runs in the bottom of the first thanks to an RBI double off the bat of Razo to plate the game's first run before two more crossed on a fielding error by the second baseman to give the hosts a 3-0 lead after one frame.
An inning later, Razo drove in another run in the midst of a groundout before Giovannini catapulted her team-leading seventh home run of the year to straightaway center, driving in three more Warrior runs to account for all of the offense for the home side.
Meanwhile, Currie absolutely dominated, finishing with two strikeouts, a walk and four hits allowed over seven scoreless innings to improve to 8-8 on the year, helping the Warriors take Game 1 in dominant fashion.
Game 2 – Merrimack 3, Stonehill
All even at a run apiece heading to the bottom of the sixth, Merrimack tallied two runs thanks to an error, as the Warriors capitalized on Stonehill's defensive miscues to take Game 2 of Monday's doubleheader by a 3-1 margin to complete their important sweep over the Skyhawks.
Even at a run apiece, senior Kelsey Francher (Weare, N.H.) led off the inning with a single to center before classmate Keaira Monet Perry (Bellingham, Mass.) followed suit with a base knock to right center, putting runners on the corners with nobody out.
After a stolen base and two defensive outs created a second-and-third, two-out situation, junior Courtney Ulak (Rehoboth, Mass.) stepped to the plate as a pinch hitter and reached on an error by the pitcher to plate both Moent Perry and Francher, giving the Warriors two huge runs entering the top of the seventh.
That was all the support sophomore Alexis Perry (Westford, Vt.) would need, as the righty retired the side in order in the top of the seventh to pick up her ninth (9-6) win of the year thanks to a two-strikeout, seven-hit, one-run performance in the circle.
Inside The Numbers
- Francher led all Warriors with a .667 average (4-for-6) on the afternoon while classmate Jessica Fugazzotto (Newton, Mass.) also finished with four hits in seven at-bats (.571) and Razo tallied three runs scored over both games
- As a team, the Warriors batted 21-for-55 (.382) while keeping the Skyhawks to just a .224 team average (11-for-49) and outscoring the visitors by a 10-1 margin over both games
- Despite stranding 14 on base, Merrimack finished with eight RBI, including a team-high three from Giovannini , while Monet Perry led the way with two stolen bases in two attempts
- Merrimack committed only one error over both games while turning two double plays
The Warriors aim for the season sweep of Stonehill tomorrow afternoon, when the two teams conclude the season series starting at 3 p.m. as part of a Tuesday (April 22) afternoon doubleheader in Easton, Mass.