NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. -- Junior right-hander Tara Fogarty (Chester, N.Y./John S. Burke Catholic HS) scattered five hits and sophomore shortstop Stephanie Kasson (Hyde Park, N.Y./Franklin D. Roosevelt HS) scored the winning run as Bentley University topped conference-leading Merrimack College, 3-2, in the first half of a Northeast-10 softball doubleheader Tuesday afternoon at the Warrior Diamond.
Merrimack bounced back to take the nightcap, 9-1 in five innings, snapping the Falcons' modest three-game winning streak.
With the score knotted at two apiece, Kasson launched a two-out rally with a single. Junior right fielder Afton Dean (Lynn/Lynn Classical HS) followed with another single, and both moved up 60 feet on a wild pitch. Yet another wild pitch allowed Kasson to come home with the tie-breaking run.
Bentley had gotten on the board first, scoring twice in the second inning. A bases-loaded single down the left field line by freshman center fielder Jackie Gauthier (Braintree/Braintree HS) scored both Fogarty, who had reached on a fielder's choice, and freshman first baseman Samantha Tierney (Wappingers Falls, N.Y./Roy C. Ketcham HS), who had singled.
Merrimack evened the game with two unearned runs in the fourth, both coming in on a single by senior catcher Kara Melillo (North Andover).
After the Falcons claimed the lead, Fogarty retired nine of the final ten batters she faced to lock up her 13th win of the season. She didn't allow a walk and struck out three.
Kasson and Dean each had two hits for Bentley.
Merrimack grabbed control of the second game with five runs in the third inning, the big blow being a three-run homer to left by sophomore third baseman Tawny Palmieri (Peabody). Two runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth completed the scoring and the game as the eight-run rule came into effect.
In addition to the big blast by Palmieri, Merrimack's offense featured two hits (including a homer), two runs scored and two RBI by freshman first baseman Jaclyn Giovannini (Plano, Texas).
Bentley scored its only run in the fourth on an RBI single by freshman third baseman Kelly Sanborn (Hopkinton/Hopkinton HS).
The split left Bentley at 14-20 overall and 7-17 in the NE-10. The Falcons complete their home schedule Wednesday at 3:00 with a doubleheader against Adelphi University.
At North Andover
GAME 1: BENTLEY 3, MERRIMACK 2
Bentley 020 010 0 -- 3 6 3
Merrimack 000 200 0 -- 2 5 1
B - Tara Fogarty and Megan Blier; M - Kelli Jo Deardorff, Curran Hubbard (5) and Kara Melillo; W - Fogarty (13-11); L - Deardorff (16-10)
GAME 2: MERRIMACK 9, BENTLEY 1
Bentley (14-20, 7-17) 000 10 -- 1 4 3
Merrimack (24-15, 19-7) 005 22 -- 9 10 2
B - Tara Fogarty, Deanna Rousseau (3) and Megan Blier; M - Alie Thomas and Kara Melillo; W - Thomas (4-1); L - Fogarty (13-12); HR - M, Tawny Palmieri (5), Jaclyn Giovannini (4); 2B - M, Kristen Lemay.