Links: Box Score
ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. – Despite an impressive outing on the mound from junior starter Megan Cook (Bellingham, Mass.) and a go-ahead two-RBI double from senior captain Samantha Waskowitz (Killingworth, Conn.), the Merrimack College softball team lost a heartbreaker in eight innings to Caldwell by a score of 3-2 in their first game of the NCAA East Regionals at Molloy College on Thursday. The Warriors now face must-win game against NYIT tomorrow at 1:30 p.m.
The Basics (NCAA Regionals First Round)
Score (8 inn.): Caldwell 3, Merrimack 2
Records: Merrimack (33-14) | Caldwell (45-13)
Location: RVC Sports Complex | Rockville Centre, N.Y.
2017 NCAA East Region 2 Schedule (All games @ Molloy College)
Thursday, May 11
Game 1: No. 2 Molloy vs. No. 7 NYIT (Molloy W, 2-1)
Game 2: No. 3 Caldwell vs. No. 6 Merrimack (Caldwell W, 3-2)
Friday, May 12
Game 3: No 2. Molloy vs. No. 3 Caldwell – 11 a.m.
Game 4: No 7. NYIT vs. No. 6 Merrimack – 1:30 p.m. (loser is eliminated)
Game 5: Game 4 Winner vs. Game 3 Loser – 4 p.m. (loser is eliminated)
Saturday, May 13
Game 6: Game 3 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner
Game 7 (if necessary): Game 6 Winner vs. Game 6 Loser
How It Happened
- 2ndt inning – In a game where hits were hard to come by for both sides, sophomore Nicole Nanof (Goffstown, N.H.) kept her strong postseason going with a two-out single in the second, advancing to second on an error for a chance at the game-opening run, but would be left stranded. Cook would see a runner reach in the bottom of the inning, but would escape the frame with a strikeout.
- 3rd/4th inning – The Warriors would continue to threaten early with base runners in the third and fourth inning, including two runners on in the third that would ultimately reach no further than second base. Senior Kaleigh Finigan (Medford, Mass.) would come up big for the Warriors in the field in both innings, making a diving catch in the third and recording all three putouts in the fourth, including a barehanded catch.
- 5th/6th inning – With Merrimack going down in order at the plate in both the fifth and sixth frames, Cook would do her part on the mound for the Warriors as she would retire 12 consecutive batters into the sixth inning. Caldwell would break that stretch with a two-out single in the sixth inning, but Cook would quickly put down the next batter to head into the seventh still scoreless.
- 7th inning – With the Warriors going down in order in the seventh, Caldwell's lead batter in the bottom of the frame would reach to put a runner on with no outs. The next batter would lay down a bunt that advanced the runner and put another on first, but sophomore catcher Caitlin McBride (Danvers, Mass.) would fire the ball to second base and catch the lead runner off the bag for a big first out.
- 7th inning – An easy infield popup would give Merrimack the second out of the inning, but an attempt to double off the runner at first would go astray and put the winning run at second. Cook would buckle down and manage to get the next batter to foul out to send the game into extra innings.
- 8th inning – As she has been able to do at an impressive rate this season, Finigan would draw a walk to lead off the eighth inning for Merrimack to put a runner on. After an out, senior Mariah Tenney (Winchendon, Mass.) would step to the plate and use her speed to beat out an infield single, putting two runners on for Waskowitz. The All-Region selection and captain would then rip a line-drive double into the gap, scoring both runners to give Merrimack its 2-0 lead.
- 8th inning – After both sides saw no runs through seven innings, Caldwell would also manage to score runners in the eighth. A pair of leadoff singles and a sacrifice bunt would put two runners in scoring position with just one out. Another single through the left side would score the Cougars' first run, followed by a hit batter to load the bases and the fourth single of the inning to tie the game at 2-2 and keep the bases loaded. Caldwell would walk-off on the next batter, as a walk would score the game-winning run.
Inside The Numbers
- LP: Cook (10-6) 7.1 IP, 7H, 3ER, 2K, 1BB
- Despite the loss, Cook delivered another strong outing for the Warriors in a junior campaign that saw her selected to the NE10 First Team and lead the conference in ERA. On Thursday, she held the top-ranked offense in the region scoreless through seven innings while giving up just four hits.
- Waskowitz, also a NE10 First Team selection and an All-Region honoree, pushed her RBI count to 30 on Thursday with what was nearly game-winning hit for Merrimack. She is batting for a .376 average following Thursday's game.
The Warriors will now take on the seventh seed in NYIT tomorrow afternoon at 1:30 p.m. in a must-win game in the double-elimination format. For more information on NYIT, click here.