ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. – Behind game-winning efforts from senior captains Haley Currie (Burlington, Mass.) and Samantha Waskowitz (Killingworth, Conn.) and yet another quality performance on the mound from junior ace Megan Cook (Bellingham, Mass.), the Merrimack College softball team won a pair of games on Friday, defeating NYIT and 14th-ranked Caldwell in the NCAA East Region 2 Tournament to advance to the final day of action before Super Regionals against second-seed Molloy tomorrow. The Warriors will have to defeat the Lions twice to advance to Super Regionals.
The Basics (NCAA East Region 2 vs. NYIT)
Score: Merrimack 3, NYIT 1
Records: Merrimack (34-14) | NYIT (25-20)
Location: RVC Sports Complex | Rockville Centre, N.Y.
The Basics (NCAA East Region 2 vs. #14 Caldwell)
Score: Merrimack 3, Caldwell 1
Records: Merrimack (35-14) | Caldwell (45-15)
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 – (Molloy W, 5-0)
Game 4: No 7. NYIT vs. No. 6 Merrimack – (Merrimack W, 3-1)
Game 5: No. 6 Merrimack vs. No. 3 Caldwell – 4 p.m. (Merrimack W, 3-1)
Saturday, May 13
Game 6: No. 2 Molloy vs. No. 6 Merrimack (12 p.m.)
Game 7 (if necessary): No 2. Molloy vs. No. 6 Merrimack
How It Happened (NYIT)
- 1st/2nd inning – NYIT would take the first lead in a game that saw both teams facing elimination from the NCAA Tournament. A one-out walk would give the Bears the first base runner of the day, with a pair of singles following up to score the lead runner, putting NYIT up 1-0 after one.
- 2nd inning – Junior ace Megan Cook (Bellingham, Mass.) would again take the mound for Merrimack after an impressive outing Friday. After a quick at-bat for the Warriors in the second, Cook would have to get out of an early jam with two NYIT runners on and two outs, but would force an infield popup to escape the inning.
- 3rd inning – The Warriors would get on the board to even up the score at 1-1 in the third inning, initiated by rookie Tiffany Mangiameli (Middlefield, Conn.) laying down a bunt reaching second on an error by the pitcher. After being sacrificed to third by senior Mariah Tenney (Winchendon, Mass.), Mangiameli would dash home on a wild pitch to tie the game up on some quality base running. Cook would follow with a 1-2-3 inning to head to the fourth tied at 1-1.
- 4th inning – Cook would find herself in another jam on the fourth inning, with a pair of singles and a sacrifice to lead off the inning putting runners on the corners with just one out. The next batter would attempt to bunt the runner on third home, but Cook would make the play at the mound, fielding the ball and throwing it home to get the lead runner. A groundout from the next batter would allow Cook and the Warriors to escape the inning unscathed.
- 5th/6th inning – Merrimack would threaten with runners in the fifth and sixth inning, including sophomore Kristina Terrazzano (Pelham, N.H.) legging out a single than advancing all the way to third with two outs, but would be unable to plate another run. Cook would deliver a clean fifth inning, and then see a wild finish to the sixth. With a runner on second and two outs, Cook would nearly collide with a base runner trying to field a popup that allowed the runner to reach. But with the lead runner attempting to score from second, Cook would pick up the ball and fire it home to get the runner and escape the inning.
- 7th inning – Sophomore Nicole Nanof (Goffstown, N.H.) would get things started in the second inning with a leadoff single, advancing to second on a sacrifice and then to third on a botched pickoff attempt with just one down. As she did in the first game of NCAA Regionals, Waskowitz would step in with the go-ahead run on base and come through in the clutch. With two outs, the senior captain would score both runners with a ball in play to center field, putting Merrimack ahead 3-1 with one at bat for NYIT remaining. In the final frame, Cook would pitch her third 1-2-3 inning of the game to seal the NCAA Tournament victory for the Warriors.
How It Happened (Caldwell)
- 1st/2nd inning – Senior captain Haley Currie (Burlington, Mass.) would get the start on the hill for the Warriors in the East Region 2 Semifinal game and second matchup of the weekend with 14th-ranked and third seed Caldwell. Currie would get off to a host start holding the Cougars without a hit through the first 2.2 innings. Merrimack would manage a pair of hits in the first two frames but were unable to score the first run.
- 3rd inning – A leadoff hit batsman and a sacrifice would put a runner on second, followed by the first hit Currie would allow in the game that would go as an RBI single up the middle, putting the Cougars up 1-0. Merrimack would again threaten for runs in the bottom of the inning with a pair of leadoff singles and a sacrifice putting runners on the corners, but the Warriors would again be held without a run.
- 4th inning – Currie would find herself in a jam with a runner on third and two outs in the fourth inning, but the senior captain would bear down and register a strike out to escape the inning unharmed. Merrimack would go down in order in the bottom of the frame.
- 5th inning – After being stifled through the first four innings, the Warriors bats would open up for three runs on three hits in the bottom of the fifth inning. A single from Tenney, a double from Waskowitz and a walk would load the bases for Merrimack with one out. Sophomore Caitlin McBride (Danvers, Mass.) would plate a run with a sacrifice fly, followed by a two-RBI single from Currie to give herself a 3-1 lead on the mound after five innings.
- 6th/7th inning – The Cougars would again show why they entered the tournament with the top-ranked offense in the region in the sixth inning, registering two hits and again putting runners on the corners. Currie would again deliver on the mound, escaping the frame with a groundout. The senior captain would close it out in the seventh inning, allowing a single but sealing the win in a four-batter inning.
Inside The Numbers
- G1 – WP: Cook (11-6) 7.0 IP, 8H, 1ER, 3K, 1BB
- G2 – WP: Currie (13-3) 7.0 IP, 6H, 1ER, 2K, 2BB
- The senior captains each came through big for the Warriors on Friday as they have done throughout the final run of their careers. Waskowitz and Currie each reigstered team-high two-RBI games. Currie improves her team-leading RBI total to 38 on the year, while Waskwoitz now has 34 RBI this season.
- Merrimack’s aces in Cook and Currie each continued their career years on the mound with their 1th and 13th win of the season, respectively. They each now have an ERA that sits below 2.00, with Cook ranking in the top-50 in the nation with a 1.60 ERA. Cook improves her complete-game count to 13, while Currie is now up to 12.
- As an institution, the softball program joins field hockey from last season and men’s soccer two years ago as program with multiple NCAA Tournament victories in a season
- The Warriors are now 2-2 this season against nationally ranked foes, with wins over the Cougars and Wayne State (then-ranked No. 22)
The Warriors will now have to defeat the host school in second-seeded Molloy two times in order to claim the East Region 2 title and advance to Super Regionals, while Molloy needs just one win to advance. The Warriors will take on the Lions tomorrow at noon at Bob Klein Field. If Merrimack wins, the teams will play a second and final game to decide the East Region 2 crown.