NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Freshman right-hander Elise Pereira (Plainville/King Philip Reg. HS) pitched a two-hitter and junior first baseman Gabby Casalino (Dix Hills, N.Y./Half Hollow Hills West HS) drove in the winning run as the Bentley University softball team took game one of their Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division doubleheader, 2-1, over Merrimack College at Martone-Mejail Field Wednesday afternoon.
Merrimack bounced back in the nightcap, riding a three-run first inning to a 5-1 win and a split of the twinbill.
Pereira's first career collegiate win saw her allow only one earned run while walking one and striking out five. Only two base runners reached against her during the game's final five innings.
With the score deadlocked at 2-2, junior infielder Kaileigh Serafini (Schenectady, N.Y./ Schenectady HS) and junior left fielder Stacey Korotsky (Raynham/Bridgewater-Raynham HS) opened the fifth with back-to-back singles. After an infield fly and a fielder's choice put runners on the corners, Casalino singled in Serafini with the go-ahead run.
After giving up a first-inning run, Bentley scored twice in the second inning. A bases-loaded single to left by sophomore right fielder Lauren Calabrese (Cave Creek, Ariz./Boulder Creek HS) scored Casalino. Serafini followed with a ground ball single through the right side with freshman Ella Hillier (Tualitin, Ore./Tualitin HS) scoring the Falcons' second run.
The lead was short-lived as Merrimack scored its second run of the game in the bottom of the second, creating a tie that would last until the fifth.
Bentley's nine hits included two apiece by Casalino, junior center fielder Julian Romeo (Greenville, R.I./Smithfield HS) and Serafini.
In game two, Merrimack's big first inning included a two-run double by right fielder Abigail Amato (Auburn, N.H.) and a double by sophomore third baseman Luciellia Colarusso (Needham) that drove in Amato.
Bentley avoided the shutout after Korotsky launched the seventh with a single. Serafini replaced her on the bases after hitting into a fielder's choice and Romeo followed with a double. Casalino grounded to third, with Serafini scoring on the play.
Senior righty Melanie DeAlmeida (Arlington) went the distance for Merrimack and survived six walks to win for the second time in three decisions.
The split left Bentley with records of 8-16 overall, 4-5 NE10 and 1-4 Northeast Division. Meanwhile, the second-game win boosted Merrimack to 13-15 overall, 4-5 overall and 4-3 Northeast.
Bentley is right back at it on Thursday with a 3 pm doubleheader at Stonehill. Those two games, originally scheduled for Mar. 20 and rescheduled for Friday, were moved up to Thursday due to the advance forecast.