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SB: Merrimack Begins Season With Sweep in Myrtle Beach

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – The Merrimack College softball team posted a two-game sweep on its second day of the 2017 season in Myrtle Beach, featuring a 12-4 five-inning rout of Felician that saw senior Kaleigh Finigan (Medford, Mass.) blast her first-career grand slam, and a one-hit shutout from senior captain Haley Currie (Burlington, Mass.) in the second game of the day.

The Basics

Score (G1 – 5 innings): Merrimack 12, Felician 4
Score (G2): Merrimack 2, Clarion 0
Records: Merrimack (3-1) | Felician (1-3) | Clarion (0-4)
Location: Grand Park Recreational Complex | Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

How It Happened (Game 1)

Merrimack would actually begin its 12-4 rout of Felician behind on the scoreboard, with the Golden Falcons scoring a run in their first at bat after begin designated as the away team. They would add another run in top of the second on back-to-back singles to take a 2-0 lead after two innings.

The Warriors would get a spark in the third after two hitless innings, with freshman Tiffany Mangiameli (Middlefield, Conn.) leading of the frame with her first-career hit, a double down the left field line. Senior captain Samantha Waskowitz (Killingworth, Conn.) would follow up with a single, and both Warriors would eventually score on a ground out and error in the field to even the score at 2-2 after three.

Merrimack would explode for eight runs in the fourth inning, initiated by an RBI triple from senior Mariah Tenney (Winchendon, Mass.) early in the inning. An RBI single from Waskowtiz scoring Tenney followed by some gifts from Felician in the form of a wild pitch and two walks would put the Warriors up 6-2 with the bases loaded. That is when Finigan would step to the plate and blast the first grand slam of her career, putting Merrimack up 10-2 with 10 unanswered runs after four.

Felician would respond with a home run to lead off the fifth, but it would be the only hit the would manage in the inning. After three more drawn walks for the Warriors in the bottom of the inning and two-RBI hits, the mercy rule would go into effect, giving Merrimack the five-inning 12-4 win.

How It Happened (Game 2)

The second game of Saturday in Myrtle Beach would play out much differently the offensive showcase that was game one. The matchup with Clarion would see quality pitching and defense from both squads, highlighted by Currie’s dominating performance on the mound, holding Clarion to just one-hit and only four baserunners all game. It’s the first complete-game shutout of the season for Currie, improving to 2-0 with two complete games.

Despite a strong performance on the mound for Clarion’s starter as well, Merrimack would be able to squeeze out the runs they needed to seal a second consecutive victory. The Warriors would score the first run of the game in the top of the third inning, thanks to another RBI hit from Waskowitz to take a 1-0 lead in a game where runs were at a premium.

After some small ball to open the inning, and RBI single from sophomore Hannah Johnson (Middleboro, Mass.) in the top of the fifth would give the Warriors a 2-0 and vital insurance run that gave Merrimack a cushion while Currie registered out after out on the mound.

With Currie not allowing a single hit for the final four innings, the Warriors would cruise to a 2-0 victory and a Saturday sweep in South Carolina.

Inside The Numbers

  • Finigan is on a tear to open her senior campaign, registering four hits in her first nine at-bats of the year, including her first-career grand slam and already racking up six RBI.
  • Currie’s pitching line: 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K. In two starts this season, she’s pitched two complete games, registered 11 strikeouts and has posted a 0.50 ERA.

Up Next

The Warriors conclude their season-opening action in Myrtle Beach tomorrow, beginning with a 10:00 a.m. contest with Wilmington (Del.), followed by a 12:00pm contest with Shippensburg.

Mike McMahon is in his 12th 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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