NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – In its first cross-divisional series of the season, the Merrimack College softball team posted its second sweep in as many days and has now won seven of its eight games in April with two wins over American International in Northeast-10 Conference play on Monday evening
Score (G1): Merrimack 6, American Int’l 3
Score (G2): Merrimack 3, American Int’l 2
Records: Merrimack (13-19, 6-7 NE-10) | American Int’l (14-14, 4-7 NE-10)
Location: Warrior Softball Diamond | North Andover, Massachusetts
How It Happened (G1)
The first game between the Warriors and Yellow Jackets started saw very little offense in the early innings thanks to some stout starting pitching from both sides, as the teams combined for just five hits through the first 4 ½ innings. Sophomore Megan Cook (Bellingham, Mass.) took the mound for the Warriors and delivered her best start of the season thus far, going the distance and allowing no runs through the first five innings.
The game would enter the bottom of the fifth inning in a scoreless tie before Merrimack’s bats exploded for six runs in the inning to give the Warriors a favorable lead late in the game. Junior captains Samantha Waskowtiz (Killingworth, Conn.) and Haley Currie (Burlington, Mass.) would each tally RBI singles in the inning, while three errors from the Yellow Jackets in the field allowed the Warrior base runners to continue to advance and eventually pile up six unearned runs.
American International looked to respond immediately in the top of the sixth inning, as they posted four of their six hits in the game in that inning alone and plated three runs to cut Merrimack’s lead to 6-3. Cook would manage to escape the inning without two much damage to the Warriors’ lead, and then proceeded to pitch a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the seventh to close out her complete-game victory
How It Happened (G2)
The Yellow Jackets took the first lead of game two on Monday, getting out in front 2-0 in the top of the second innings, scoring two runs without registering a hit and receiving from assistance from a pair of errors in the field from the Warriors to take their first and only lead of the day.
After managing just two hits through the first three innings, the Warrior offense found its stride in the bottom of the fourth inning as an RBI single from junior Tamarra Crowe(North Bend, Wash.) was followed up by back-to-back sacrifice flies from freshman Emily Kurkul (Bridgewater, Mass.) and junior Kaleigh Finigan (Medford, Mass.) for a three-hit, three-run inning for Merrimack to get the lead back.
The final three innings saw very little action, as the teams combined for just two hits and no runs. After a solid start on the mound from senior Alexis Perry (Westford, Vt.), sophomore Courtney Zambello (Sharon, Mass.) came in in relief and pitched a nearly flawless four innings, not allowing a hit and walking just two to pick up her third win of the season.
Inside The Numbers
- With their two wins on Monday afternoon, the Warriors are now an impressive 7-1 so far in the month of April and have won eight of their last 10 games. In April, the Warriors are outscoring their opponents 41-22.
- The Warriors continue to be one of the most aggressive teams on the bases in the conference if not the country. Junior Mariah Tenney (Winchendon, Mass.) stole four bases in the first game on Monday, putting her season total at 19 through 32 games. She is dominating the NE-10 in that statistic, as the next closest competitor has just nine steals. Waskowtiz is tied for third with eight stolen bases after two on Monday, and Merrimack as a team is dominating the conference with 40 steals on the season, with the next closest team at 26.
- Currie and freshman Caitlin McBride (Danvers, Mass.) each went 1-for-3 in both games Monday, as both Warriors extended their current hit streaks to seven games.
The Warriors are back on the diamond tomorrow when they host Bentley to make-up a doubleheader beginning at 3:00 p.m.