WALTHAM, Mass. – Continuing to be red-hot as it nears the midway point of the season, the Merrimack College softball team registered its eighth consecutive victory and its fourth straight win since opening Northeast-10 Conference divisional play with a sweep at Bentley on Wednesday afternoon.
Score (G1): Merrimack 3, Bentley 2
Score (G2 – 6 inn.): Merrimack 7, Bentley 3
Records: Merrimack (17-5, 4-0 NE10) | Bentley (4-9, 0-2 NE10)
Location: Bentley Field | Waltham, Mass.
How It Happened (G1)
- 1st inning – Due to a site flip that originally had Wednesday's games scheduled to be at Merrimack, the Warriors would bat second despite the game being at Bentley. The Falcons would hop out to the first lead of the game in their first at bat in the top of the inning. After a leadoff single and a pass ball put a runner on second, Bentley would attempt to bunt the runner over. The batter would reach on an error, but was thrown out trying to advance to second, which allowed the lead runner to score and give the Falcons a 1-0 lead after the first.
- 3rd inning – Bentley would threaten for more in the third inning, putting the first two batters on base in the frame. But junior Megan Cook (Bellingham, Mass.) would lock in on the mound, registering three straight outs in the inning to hold the deficit at 1-0. The unearned Bentley run in the first inning would be the only run Cook would allow in her first six innings of work.
- 5th inning – After two hitless innings for the Warriors in the third and fourth frames, Merrimack would open up for three runs in the bottom of the fifth thanks to some miscues in the field. Following a leadoff single from senior Kaleigh Finigan (Medford, Mass.), back-to-back errors would allow the runner to score while putting two more runners on with a 1-1 score and no outs. Senior captain Samantha Waskowitz (Killingworth, Conn.) would follow up with a clutch two-RBI single, putting the Warriors in front 3-1 after five.
- 7th inning – A quick and scoreless sixth inning would send Bentley to its final at-bat trailing the Warriors by two runs. Cook would return to the mound for Merrimack and would allow a leadoff walk to Bentley. A one-out triple two batters later would score the runner, cutting the Warriors' lead to 3-2 and putting the tying run on third with one out. Like in the third, Cook would again buckle down and register two straight outs, holding on for the complete-game victory.
How It Happened (G2)
- 1st inning – Merrimack would leave little suspense in the second matchup of the day at Bentley as the Warriors would put up five runs on four hits in their very first at bat. Two walks and a botched fielder's choice attempt would put the first three Merrimack batters on with no outs. Sophomore Caitlin McBride (Danvers, Mass.) would then step to the plate and begin a string of four straight RBI singles from the Warriors.
- 1st inning – A trio of seniors in Tamarra Crowe (North Bend, Wash.), Finigan, and Mariah Tenney (Winchendon, Mass.) would each follow McBride with RBI singles of their own, plating four runs while keeping the bases loaded for the duration. Tenney would be followed by a two-out, bases loaded walk to freshman Tiffany Mangiameli (Middlefield, Conn.) for the fifth and final run of the inning.
- 2nd inning – Bentley would get on the board in the second inning, scoring via its first three batters of the inning though none of them registered a hit. Three straight outs from junior Courtney Zambello (Sharon, Mass.) on the mound following the run would get Merrimack out of the inning with no more harm.
- 2nd inning – Merrimack would quickly respond in the bottom of the inning to stretch the lead back to five, as a single from McBride followed by an RBI triple from junior Alyssa Williamson (Scarborough, Maine) would extend the lead to 6-1.
- 5th inning – Zambello would hold Bentley scoreless over the next three innings, and the Warriors would tack on another run of insurance in the bottom of the ffith. After a hit-batsman put a runner on first, Waskwoitz would extend the lead with an RBI triple, stretching the score to 7-1 heading into the sixth.
- 6th inning – Bentley would score its first runs since the first inning in the sixth, beginning with plating a run on a leadoff single followed by three straight walks. Junior Brooke Bogacz (Tyngsboro, Mass.) would be tasked with taking the mound in with one out and the bases loaded. Another run would score on a sacrifice fly, but back-to-back outs from Bogacz would get Merrimack out of the inning with little harm. The game was called following the inning due to darkness.
Inside The Numbers
- G1: WP – Cook (5-2) 7.0 IP, 1ER, 5H, 5K
- G2: WP – Zambello (6-1) 5.1 IP, 3R, 3k
- Cook continues to have a strong start to her junior campaign, contributing to an extremely impressive start from the Warriors rotation as a whole. Cook now sits fourth in the NE10 with a 1.69 ERA on the season. Zambello improves to 6-1 on the season and now leads the team and ranks third in the NE10 with a 6.32 K/7 ratio.
- The Warriors saw a full team effort in the second win of the day with seven different Warriors batting in each of Merrimack's seven runs. Those seven one-RBI games were highlighted by a 2-for-3 day from Williamson, who now leads the team and ranks seventh in the NE10 with a .400 average on the season.
The Warriors will look to play games with New Haven and Southern Connecticut this weekend barring any weather postponements, with the sites of the games still to be determined