Merkel keys Messiah sweep
Seventh-ranked Falcons hold McDaniel to eight hits
WESTMINSTER, Md. – Jaclyn Merkel went a combined 7-for-8 with five RBIs and six runs scored to lead No. 7 Messiah to a doubleheader sweep of McDaniel in non-conference softball action on Thursday.
The Falcons (22-5) recorded a 9-1 victory in a five-inning game one behind four innings of no-hit ball and 11 strikeouts from Jessica Rhoads before completing the sweep with an 11-0 win in the nightcap.
Lauren Fusco (Laurel, Md./St. Vincent Pallotti) recorded two of the five hits for the Green Terror (11-13) in game two.
In the opener, Merkel led off with a single before stealing second. After she advanced to second on a sacrifice and a walk to Abby Bergakker, a fielding error allowed Lauren Seneca to reach and Merkel to score for a 1-0 lead.
Two batters later, Rhodes drove in Bergakker for a 2-0 lead.
The NCAA Division III strikeout leader then went to work, fanning two of the first three batters she faced.
With one out in the top of the second, Ashley Lehman singled to lead off a chain of four straight base knocks.
After a lineout, Stephanie Schell singled up the middle to plate two more, stretching the lead to 5-0.
A Nicole Adams two-run single made it a 7-0 game before Rhoads struck out the side in the bottom of the frame.
A hit batter, bunt single, walk and pair of wild pitches pushed the lead to 8-0 in the third.
A Merkel single and Jessica Brown pinch-hit double gave Messiah a 9-0 lead in the top of the fifth.
Samantha Staub (Mt. Airy, Md./Linganore) doubled to lead off the fifth, breaking up the perfect gaem.
Hope Battista (Crofton, Md./South River) followed with a single to put runners at the corners before a Lauren Wildasin (Thurmont, Md./Catoctin) one-out bunt single plated pinch-runner Ashley Crawford (New Market, Md./Linganore) to break up the shutout.
In game two, Merkel led off with a double and stole third before scoring on an Abi Buchler sacrifice fly.
A passed ball on a strikeout to lead off the second inning and errant throw into center field after a tag play on the second batter pushed the lead to 2-0 before Merkel blasted a two-out solo shot to straightaway center field for a 3-0 lead.
A Bergakker walk and Schell RBI double in the third made it 4-0 before back-to-back doubles from Schell and Adams stretched the lead to 5-0 in the visitor fifth.
Daniella Pusateri led off the sixth with a single before scoring on a Merkel double.
In the seventh, a two-out error and Merkel’s three-run home run to left field keyed a five-run frame.
The Green Terror returns to action in a doubleheader against Swarthmore at home on Saturday. The first game of the doubleheader begins at 1 p.m.
Score by Inning – Game
No. 7 Messiah (21-5) 2 5 1 0 1 - 9 11 0
McDaniel (11-12) 0 0 0 0 1 - 1 3 2
Jessica Rhoads and Abby Bergakker; Ashley Meister, Kaitlyn Vadenais (3) and Hope Battista. WP: Rhoads (14-1). LP: Meister (6-4). S: none. SO-BB: Rhoads 11-0; Meister 0-2, Vadenais 1-1. 2B: Jessica Brown (Me), Samantha Staub (Mc).
Score by Inning – Game
No. 7 Messiah (22-5) 1 2 1 0 1 1 5 - 11 11 0
McDaniel (11-13) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 0 5 2
Jocelyn Hickey, Tori Hatt (6) and Taylor Hatt, Myranda Cox (7); Erinne Warrenfeltz, Liz Beall (4) and Leigh Blohm, Hope Battista (4), Tracy Davis (7). WP: Hickey (4-2). LP: Warrenfeltz (2-7). S: none. SO-BB: Hickey 1-0, Hatt 1-0; Warrenfeltz 1-2, Beall 1-3. 2B: Jaclyn Merkel 2 (Me), Stephanie Schell 2 (Me), Abby Bergakker (Me), Nicole Adams (Me), MaryAnn Becker (Me). HR: Merkel 2 (Me).