NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Headlined by quality starts on the mound in each game for the Warriors from juniors Megan Cook (Bellingham, Mass.) and Courtney Zambello (Sharon, Mass.), the Merrimack College softball team swept Assumption in a doubleheader on Wednesday with 4-0 and 4-1 wins, extending its lead atop the Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division by two games.
Score (G1): Merrimack 4, Assumption 0
Score (G2): Merrimack 4, Assumption 1
Records: Merrimack (25-11, 12-4 NE10) | Assumption (14-13, 10-5 NE10)
Location: Warrior Softball Diamond| North Andover, Mass.
How It Happened (G1)
- 1st inning – After Cook got the first game of Wednesday started by recording two of her career-high nine strikeouts in the game in the first inning, the Warriors would give their starter an early lead in the first. Following a walk and a steal put senior captain Samantha Waskowitz (Killingworth, Conn.) on second, a fielder's choice would allow Waskowitz to reach third and an error would let her reach home, giving Merrimack a 1-0 lead.
- 3rd inning – Cook found herself in a jam in the third inning with runners on second aand third with just one out, but the junior ace would buckle down and register two consecutive strikeouts to escape the inning unharmed. The Warriors would reward her in the bottom of the frame as freshman Tiffany Mangiameli (Middlefield, Conn.) would score after a leadoff single followed by a single from Waskowitz and an error gave Mangiameli a free run from first to home.
- 5th/6th inning – Once again in a jam in the fifth inning, Cook would shine under pressure on the mound after seeing runners on first and third with no outs in the inning. The junior would proceed to record three straight outs to leave the runners stranded, followed by a 1-2-3 inning in the sixth for six consecutive outs. Merrimack would again reward Cook by putting up insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth, with an RBI double from senior Kaleigh Finigan (Medford, Mass.) and an RBI single from Mangiameli to stretch the lead to 4-0 heading to the final inning.
- 7th inning – With Cook registering the first out in the final inning, senior captain Haley Currie (Burlington, Mass.) would take the hill with two runners on and record two straight outs to nab the save and seal the victory.
How It Happened (G2)
- 1st -2nd inning – Zambello would come out firing on the mound in game two for Merrimack, fanning four Greyhounds while allowing just one hit in the first two innings. Like in game one, the Warriors would get their pitcher the first lead of the game as Finigan would blast her fifth homer of the season in the second inning, a solo shot that put Merrimack up 1-0 after two.
- 3rd- 5th inning – While the third and fourth innings were also quiet for Merrimack at the plate, Zambello would find her way out of the next three innings as Assumption would get base-runners, but Zambello would leave four runners stranded across the third, fourth and fifth innings to keep the Greyhounds looking for their first run of the day.
- 5th inning –The Warriors would see their lead extended in the bottom of the fifth inning, kicked off by Mangiameli reaching on an error and Waskowitz beating out a bunt for a single. Junior Alyssa Williamson (Scarborough, Maine) would then follow up with a double to deep right, scoring both runners to put Merrimack up 3-0 with two innings to go.
- 6th inning – Assumption would get its one and only run of the day in the top of the sixth, helped by a pair of miscues in the field from Merrimack that put two runners on that were followed by a single to put the score at 3-1. The Warriors would get that run right back in the bottom of the inning as a ball put in play by a pinch-hit at bat from sophomore Kristina Terrazzano (Pelham, N.H.) would cause an error in the field and allow a leadoff walk to score all the way from first base.
- 6th-7th inning – Currie would again be called upon to lock down the final outs of a strong Zambello start, coming in with two down in the sixth inning. The senior captain would proceed to register the final four outs in five batters, allowing just a single in the seventh in her fourth save of the season.
Inside The Numbers
- G1: WP – Cook (8-4) 6.1 IP, 4H, 0R, 9K | SV: Currie (3)
- G2: WP – Zambello (7-4) 5.2 IP, 4H, 1R, 0ER, 6K | SV: Currie (4)
- Merrimack's impressive pitching performances on Wednesday are reflective of where the Warriors aces rank in the NE10, as Cook's outing with a career-high nine strikeouts and no runs allowed drops her ERA to 1.69, currently ranking second in the conference. Zambello is now average 6.11 strikeouts per seven innings, which ranks fourth in the NE10.
- With her solo homer on Wednesday, Finigan now has matched her career-high in home runs with five on the year, reaching the mark she set as a sophomore. She also has already matched her career-high with five doubles this season, and has set a new career-high in hits this year with 25.
The Warriors continue NE10 divisional home action this weekend when they host Southern New Hampshire for three games across Saturday and Sunday. Saturday will be a doubleheader beginning at noon and will serve as Senior Day for the Warriors, while Sunday will be a single game starting at 1:00 p.m. and is Merrimack's Alumni Day.