Nicole Nanof’s Walk-Off Homer Sends Merrimack to NE10 Title Game
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.
Score: Merrimack 2, Southern N.H. 1 (F/9)
Records: Merrimack (33-12) | Southern N.H. (27-20)
Location: 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)
- 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.
- 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
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).