Nicole Nanof’s Walk-Off Homer Sends Merrimack to NE10 Title Game


Video: Game Highlights // Nanof Postgame Comments

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – A pair of solo home runs – including a walk-off blast off the bat of sophomore Nicole Nanof (Goffstown, N.H.) – lifted the top-seeded Merrimack College softball team to a dramatic, come-from-behind victory over fourth-seeded Southern New Hampshire in the semifinal round of the 2017 Northeast-10 Conference Softball Championship on Thursday afternoon at the Warrior Softball Diamond. Merrimack will meet Adelphi at a to-be-determined date and time to play for its first league tournament title in 15 years.

The Basics
Score: Merrimack 2
, Southern N.H. 1 (F/9)
Records: Merrimack (33-12) | Southern N.H. (27-20)
Warrior Softball Diamond | North Andover, Mass.

2017 NE10 Softball Championship Schedule

First Round (Tue. May 2)
Game 1 – #4 NE Southern N.H. def. #3 NE Assumption, 10-4
Game 2 – #3 SW Le Moyne def. #4 SW Le Moyne, 6-4

Quarterfinals/Semifinals (Thu. May 4 @ Merrimack College)
Game 3 – #4 NESouthern N.H. def. #2 SW Pace, 5-1
Game 5 – #1 NE Merrimack def. #4 NE Southern N.H., 2-1 (F/9)

Quarterfinals/Semifinals (Thu. May 4 @ UMass Lowell)
Game 4 – #3 SW Le Moyne def. #2 NE Saint Anselm, 13-5
Game 6 – #1 SW Adelphi (3 p.m.) def. #3 SW Le Moyne, 10-9

Championship (Sat. May 6 @ Merrimack College)
Game 7 – #1 NE Merrimack vs. #1 SW Adelphi (TBA)

Rapid Recap

  • After a scoreless first, Southern New Hampshire hopped in front with a solo home run off the bat of Sarah Lavallee, and that score went unchanged through the remaining three innings.
  • Merrimack threatened with runners in scoring position in the second, fourth and fifth – including having runners at second and third in those latter two frames – but the Warriors were denied the tying run each time.
  • Trailing by one heading into its penultimate at-bat of the game, senior designated player Haley Currie (Burlington, Mass.) went yard for the team-leading sixth time this season, as her solo shot leveled the ledger at 1-1.
  • Merrimack had an opportunity to walk it off in regulation, putting a runner at third in the bottom of the seventh with two outs, but could not push ahead the winning run as the game went to extras.
  • Finally, with two outs and nobody on, Nanof’s second home run of the season – and of her career – could not have come at a better time, as the sophomore roped a no-doubter to left to send the Warriors to the NE10 Final.

Highlights and Notables

  • Merrimack will be playing for its league-best eighth conference tournament title and has advance to the NE10 Final for the eighth time – also a league-high figure.
  • Currie, Nanof and junior Alyssa Williamson (Scarborough, Maine) combined for six of Merrimack’s seven hits, as all had two-hit outings at the dish.
  • Junior Courtney Zambello (Sharon, Mass.) enetered the game in the fourth inning and was excellent, tossng 5-2/3 scoreless frames with a strikeout. Classmate Megan Cook (Bellingham, Mass.) started the contest and fanned three with only the one solo home run allowed over 3-1/3 innings.

Pitching Matchup

  • W: Courtney Zambello (11-3), 5.2 iP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 K, 0 BB
  • L: Maddy Barone (9-7), 8.2 IP/CG, 7 H, 2 ER, 6 K, 1 BB
  • ND: Megan Cook, 3.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 K, 1 BB

Team Comparisons (MC // SNH)

  • Hits/At-Bats: 7-31 // 5-31
  • SO/BB: 6/1 // 4/1
  • LOB: 7 // 5
  • SB: 0-0 // 0-0
  • Errors: 1 // 0

Up Next
Merrimack will take on 25th-ranked Adelphi with a conference tournament title on the line on Saturday, May 6, back at the Warrior Softball Diamond. Due to rain in the forecast, game time will not be announced until a later date — likely sometime on Friday (May 5). 

About Mike McMahon

Mike McMahon is in his 13th year covering Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune and is the founder and managing editor of The Mack Report. Mike also serves on staff as a senior writer at College Hockey News. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN

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