WALTHAM, Mass. – Merrimack College came away with a sweep of the Bentley University softball team on Wednesday afternoon in a pair of Northeast-10 Conference games, the first contests played on the Falcons' home field this season.
The Warriors, who ran their winning streak to eight, captured a tight contest in the opener, 3-2, and completed the sweep with a 7-3 victory in game two that was ended after six innings due to darkness. Since the games were scheduled to be played at Merrimack, the Falcons were the away team in both.
In the first game, Bentley had the tying run on third with two outs in the seventh but could not push it across. The Falcons entered the inning trailing 3-1, but got the leadoff runner on when junior shortstop Catie Noons (North Dighton/Dighton-Rehoboth HS) worked a walk. After a fielder's choice put freshman Juliana Romeo (Greenville, R.I./Smithfield HS) on base, a triple to center by number six hitter Stephanie McQuaid (Windham, N.H./Austin Prep) made it a one-run game.
Merrimack pitcher Megan Cook (Bellingham) was able to get the next two outs as the Warriors held on for the victory and Cook finished the complete game.
Bentley, which was playing for the first time since March 10, got the game's first run in the top of the first, when freshman first baseman Stacey Korotsky (Raynham/Bridgewater Raynham HS) reached and senior right fielder Chelsea Vena (Matawan, N.J./St. John Vianney HS) scored from third. Bentley held that 1-0 lead into the fifth inning as starter Hannah King (Kennebunk, Maine/Kennebunk HS) had a shutout going, until the Warriors broke through with three runs. The big hit was a one-out two-run single by second baseman Samantha Waskowitz (Killingworth, Conn.).
In game two, Merrimack struck early with five runs in the bottom of the first. The Falcons got a run back in the top of the second after second baseman Jordan Ballantyne (Hopewell Junction, N.Y./Arlington HS) reached on a fielder's choice, and Romeo scored from third.
The Warriors tacked on single runs in the bottom of the second and fifth to take a 7-1 lead. In the sixth, Bentley got its first three batters on as a single by Romeo and walks to McQuaid and Ballantyne loaded the bases.
Merrimack starter Courtney Zambello (Sharon) got the first out before she walked Bentley's Gabby Casalino (Dix Hills, N.Y./Half Hollow Hills) to bring Romeo home to cut the deficit to 7-2. That chased Zambello and brought in reliever Brooke Bogacz (Tyngsboro), who allowed a sac fly to Vena that plated McQuaid before getting the final out.
Bentley (4-9, 0-2 NE10 Northeast) are scheduled to host Assumption in a doubleheader Thursday, weather permitting.