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ST PETERSBURG, Fla. – Eckerd broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the sixth and held on to hand the Merrimack College softball team a 4-2 setback in Game 1 before sweeping the doubleheader with an 8-0 decision in Game 2 on Tuesday afternoon.

Links: Box Score (G1) | Box Score (G2)

The Basics
Eckerd 4, Merrimack 2 | Eckerd 8, Merrimack 0 (F/5) 
Records: Merrimack (3-5)
| Eckerd (25-2)
Turley Complex | St. Petersburg, Fla.

How It Happened – Game 1
Merrimack hopped out to an early lead in the opening game and then added another score in the fifth to draw even at 2-2, but the host Tritons came through when they needed to, tacking on the decisive to runs in the bottom of the sixth to take Game 1, 4-2.

Senior Lindsay Gibbs (Acton, Mass.) smashed her 10th career homer and first of the season to right center in the top of the third to give the Warriors an early lead. After entering the afternoon with only one hit on the young season, Gibbs was the star in Tuesday’s opener, finishing 3-for-3 with two runs.

Sydney Dinelli responded for the Tritons in the home half of the inning, plating a run on a base knock to center before an error during the play brought in the go-ahead score to push Eckerd in front, 2-1.

The Warriors charged back in the top of the fifth; after Gibbs doubled with one out and moved to third on an error, sophomore Morgan Phipps (Melrose, Mass.) brought her home with an RBI double of her own into the gap in right center, leveling the score at 2-2.

The Tritons, however, mounted a two-out rally in the bottom of the sixth and used back-to-back singles to load the bases before a bases-loaded walk and another infield single brought in a pair, pushing the hosts ahead by two.

Gibbs’ third extra-base hit of the day – and second double – put the Warriors in business in the top of the seventh, and an error and another single loaded the bases, but two hard ground balls resulted in a force-out fielder’s choice at the plate and game-ending grounder to second to squander Merrimack’s late rally.

Sophomore Haley Currie (Burlington, Mass.) took the loss after yielding four earned runs over six innings with four strikeouts and two walks, while Erin Dixson improved to 9-0 for the Tritons after surrendering only five hits over seven strong innings.

How It Happened – Game 2
Merrimack’s bats were kept quiet in Game 2, as the Warriors were held to only three hits and were blanked for the third time in the last five games in an 8-0, five-inning defeat against Eckerd.

Seniors Jennifer Post (Orange, Conn.) and Courtney Ulak (Rehoboth, Mass.) joined freshman Amanda Brush (Harleysville, Pa.) as the only three Warriors to collect hits. In the circle, fellow freshmen Courtney Zambello (Sharon, Mass.) and Megan Cook (Bellingham, Mass.) handled the work; the former struck out one, walked one and was tagged with the loss despite only giving up two earned runs (four unearned) in 3-2/3 innings. The latter worked the final inning-plus.

Eckerd scored twice in the bottom of the second before adding four unearned runs to its lead in the fourth. Ahead by a 6-0 margin, a two-RBI triple in the bottom of the fifth secured the mercy-rule win for the Tritons.

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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