Softball Splits DH with Merrimack; Picks Up Wild Game Two Victory
Laura Eidam launches first homer of her career to help propel Ravens to victory in game two
RINDGE, N.H. (March 28, 2012) -- The Franklin Pierce University softball team split its Wednesday doubleheader with Merrimack at the FPU Softball Field in Rindge. After dropping game one, 11-3, in six innings, the Ravens responded with a wild 12-10 win over the Warriors in the nightcap. Franklin Pierce moved to 8-9 overall and 6-2 in the Northeast-10, while Merrimack moved to 8-8 and 2-2 in league play.
The second game took nearly two-and-half hours to complete as both sides traded a barrage of runs before Franklin Pierce finally earned the victory. Merrimack fired the first salvo in the top of the first inning as Lindsay Gibbs launched a grand slam to left-center field to stake the Warriors to a 4-0 advantage.
After yielding 11 runs in game one, and then another four in the opening frame of game two, the Ravens could have folded, but they didn't and responded with five of their own in the bottom of the inning to take a 5-4 lead.
Senior Jayme Bilafer (Concord, Mass.) singled to left field to lead off the frame and moved up a base as freshman Alicia Dean (Danvers, Mass.) drew a walk. Sophomore Jamie Wiley (Cape Vincent, N.Y.) followed and blasted a double to center field to bring in both Bilafer and Dean, and the rally was on for the Ravens. With Wiley standing on second, junior Jessica Furtado (Taunton, Mass.) drew a base on balls, and the duo would come home to score a batter later as freshman Laura Eidam (Stamford, Conn.) sent a three-run blast well over the wall in right-center field. It marked the first homer of Eidam's young career.
It was then Merrimack's turn for the long ball and the Warriors got one in both the second and third innings to regain the lead at 8-5. The second inning blast was a two-run shot which came off the bat of Monique Gosselin, and the third inning homer was a two-run rip by Tawny Palmieri.
Franklin Pierce would not homer the rest of the game, but that didn't mean the Ravens were done scoring runs. The bottom of the third was the highlight of the night for Franklin Pierce as it sent 12 batters to the plate and scored seven times to regain the lead at 12-8.
Furtado singled and Eidam walked to begin the inning and both came around to score on a single up the middle from senior Jamie Verner (Natick, Mass.). Classmate Meaghan O'Neal (Littleton, Mass.) followed and sent a double to the wall in center field, scoring both Verner and junior Megan Bird (Laconia, N.H.), who reached on a bunt single prior to Verner's at-bat. After a Merrimack pitching change, Bilafer doubled home O'Neal to make it 9-8 Ravens. Bilafer would score later in the inning, along with Dean, and Franklin Pierce had its most productive inning of the season.
Junior pitcher Rachel Allen (Hull, Mass.), who was worked extensively all day, used the momentum from the tremendous offensive support and rallied for a strong performance over the final few innings to pick up the win and run her record to 3-3 on the season. She gave up a run in both the fourth and sixth innings, but Franklin Pierce still held a 12-10 lead going into the top of the seventh inning. Allen wasn't about to let this important victory slip away and retired the Warriors in order to close out the game. Allen got Merrimack pinch hitter Jenn Post to strike out swinging for the final out as Franklin Pierce defeated the Warriors for the first time in three tries this season. Allen yielded the 10 runs on 12 hits over 7.0 innings of work, while striking out eight and walking five. The gutsy performance came after Allen worked 2.2 innings of relief in game one.
Bilafer, Wiley and Furtado ended game two with two hits apiece. Bilafer, along with Dean, Furtado and Eidam, each crossed home plate twice in the game.
Franklin Pierce picked up its sixth conference victory in just eight tries this season, which is a significant improvement over last season when it took the Ravens 17 tries to earn win number six in NE-10 play.
Wednesday's first game, though, did not go the way the Ravens had envisioned as the eight-run loss snapped their four-game winning streak.
The big inning came for Merrimack in the third when 11 Warriors went to the plate and scored eight runs to break a scoreless tie. The highlight of the inning were three home runs, including a three-run shot from Post. Nicole LoPilato and Key Perry each hit back-to-back solo homers late in the frame.
Franklin Pierce managed to get a run back in the bottom half of the inning as Furtado rocketed a double to the wall in left field, scoring Bird on the play, who walked in the prior at-bat.
Merrimack went back up by an eight-run margin at 9-1 in the fourth as Post drew a bases loaded walk to force in Gosselin. Franklin Pierce managed to scratch out a pair of runs in the fifth on a two-run double from Wiley, but the Warriors were able to set the eight-run rule into effect with two runs in the sixth to make it an 11-3 final.
Franklin Pierce freshman pitcher Jessica Colson (Feeding Hills, Mass.) started in the circle and was tagged with the loss after allowing six runs on six hits in just 2.1 innings of work. Merrimack was led in the circle by Kelli Jo Deardorff, who picked up the win to improve to 3-1 as she went 3.2 innings (over two separate appearances) and did not yield a run and scattered a pair of hits.
Franklin Pierce returns to action on Saturday when the Ravens travel to New Haven to face Southern Connecticut State in a doubleheader beginning at 12 p.m.
For more information on Franklin Pierce softball, please visit the team's page at athletics.franklinpierce.edu(.) To follow the program even further, please visit Franklin Pierce Athletics on YouTube (www.youtube.com/FranklinPierceSports), Twitter (www.twitter.com/FPUathletics) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceRavens).