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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Despite a strong pitching performance in game two of the day and taking the game to extra innings, the Merrimack College softball team fell in its final two games of its six-day trip to Florida at Eckerd on Tuesday evening. The team now returns to the northeast for regional competition.

The Basics
Score (G1 – 6 innings):
 Eckerd 9, Merrimack 1
Score (G2 – 8 innings): Eckerd 3, Merrimack 2
Records: Merrimack (5-14)
 | Eckerd (20-11-1) 
 Turley Athletic Complex | St. Petersburg, Florida

How It Happened (G1)
The Warriors got off to a slow start at Eckerd on Monday, dropping game one of the double header by a score a 9-1, ending in six innings. The first two innings of the game would go by scoreless, ending that way thanks to two straight bases-load strikeouts from junior captain Haley Currie (Burlington, Mass.) on the mound. Merrimack would get the leadoff batter on in the top of the second, but were unable to grab a run.

Eckerd got on the board first in the bottom of the second, stringing together four hits to pick up an early 3-0 lead. That lead would get extended to 6-0 two innings later, with two singles to start the inning being followed by a three-run homerun, giving Eckerd a six-run lead with just two at bats remaining.

After stepping off the mound in the fourth, Currie looked to help her own cause in the top of the fifth, leading off the inning by picking up her second hit of the game with a solo homer to center field, trying to spark a late-inning rally from the Warriors. Freshman Caitlin McBride (Danvers, Mass.) would give the Warriors another base runner in the inning with a single, but would take just one run from the fifth.

Both Eckerd and Merrimack would go hitless in the bottom of the fifth and top of the sixth, respectively, but as was the case on Monday, the Warriors would struggle in the bottom of the sixth. After retiring the first batter, the next two Eckerd batters would reach, followed by a walk to put the bases loaded. A double would plate two of those runners, and a line out to center field would be deep enough to for a runner at third to tag-up, scoring the third run of the inning and putting the lead at a game-ending eight runs.

How It Happened (G2)
Merrimack bounced back in full force in game two of the day, starting the contest with junior Tamarra Crowe (North Bend, Wash.) batting leadoff and reaching base. After advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt, Crowe would score on a single from freshman Emily Kurkul (Bridgewater, Mass.) to put the Warriors up 1-0 after the first inning.

After two walks to start the inning followed by a sacrifice to advance the runners, Eckerd would tie it in the bottom of the second with another sacrifice, this one on a fly ball to center field that tied the game at 1-1. Eckerd took the lead from Merrimack in the third inning with an RBI single to make it 2-1, but left two runners stranded.

The Warriors would respond promptly in the top of the fourth inning after a single from sophomore Megan Cook (Bellingham, Mass.) would eventually result in her advancing two bases to get to third. Senior Brittany Razo (Anaheim, Calif.) would then step into the box and drive the first of her three hits in the game into left field to score Cook and tie the game back up at 2-2.

Cook would also come in to pitch for Merrimack in the third inning, delivering a great outing on the mound for 5.2 innings. The Bellingham, Massachusetts native allowed just two hits in her time on the hill, and did not give up a hit to Eckerd until a single in the seventh inning, which never resulted in a run. The Warriors would get a double from Currie in the fifth and another hit from Razo in the sixth, but would never retake the lead.

Eckerd would eventually score the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth, as a leadoff double would be advanced to third by a sac bunt, and then brought home by a sac fly to right field to end the game.

Inside The Numbers

  • Cook’s final pitching line: 5.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K’s
  • Currie finished Tuesday with an offensive line of 3-for-6, 2B, HR, 1 RBI. She improvers her team-leading batting average to .326 on the season. Her homerun in game one is her first of the season after hitting two in 2015.
  • Razo finished game two perfect at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a double and an RBI. It’s the senior’s first double this year and first multi-hit game of the season.
  • Game two on Tuesday marks the Warriors’ fourth one-run loss of the season, as the Navy and Gold will look to steal some close games as they return to the Northeast.

Up Next
The Warriors begin NE-10 Northeast Divisional play on Saturday when they head to Southern New Hampshire for an afternoon doubleheader. First pitch for game one is set for 12:00 p.m.

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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