NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Four home runs in the first two innings of the opener and two first-inning extra base hits in the nightcap propelled Merrimack College to a sweep of Bentley University, 8-1 and 4-0, in Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division softball Wednesday afternoon at Warrior Field.
In the opener, four of Merrimack's first 11 batters cleared the fence, staking the Warriors to a 6-0 lead in the second inning. Three of those came in a span of five batters as junior left fielder Kelsey Francher (Weare, N.H.), junior designated player Jaclyn Giovannini (Plano, Texas) and senior third baseman Tawny Palmieri (Peabody) all homered, with walks sandwiched in between.
That would be more than enough for senior righty Kelli Jo Deardorff (Bedford), who scattered eight hits and finished with six strikeouts.
Bentley's only run in the opener came in the first inning. Sophomore left fielder Shannon Connor (West New Haven, Conn./West Haven HS) led off with a walk, was sacrificed to third and scored on double to left by senior catcher Erica Thibodeau (Cohoes, N.Y./Shaker HS).
The Falcons received quality relief work from freshman Kelly Ferris (Seymour, Conn./Seymour HS), who struck out eight and allowed only one run in 4.1 innings of work.
In the nightcap, Merrimack scored three times in the bottom of the first. Junior shortstop Ashley Perry (Winchendon) led off with a triple and scored on Palmieri's grounder to second. Later in the inning, Giovannini had an RBI double and junior first baseman Keira Monet Perry (Bellingham) scored on a ground out.
In the fifth, the Warriors (10-14, 3-2 NE-10 NE) made it 4-0 when Keira Monet Perry singled home Gibbs, who had doubled.
Alexis Perry blanked the Falcons (8-20,1-7) on three hits with only one, a second-inning single by freshman shortstop Alex Borrelli (Salem, N.H./Central Catholic HS) leaving the infield. Perry didn't issue a walk and struck out two while recording her first shutout.
Bentley will be back in action Saturday for a home doubleheader against Franklin Pierce.