SYRACUSE, MA - The Merrimack (26-19) softball team saw their playoff run come to an end Saturday with a 6-2 loss to Southern Connecticut.
After losing game one to LeMoyne, Merrimack had to face Southern Connecticut in the loser's bracket to keep their playoff hopes alive. Merrimack pulled out everything they had, using everyone on their pitching staff. Junior Atlee Cahill (Gloucester, MA) got the start and took the loss after pitching 3.2 innings and giving up five hits, striking out one. The Owls jumped on the board in the first after Khristle Lee reached on a fielder's choice. Lee scored on a sacrifice fly to centerfield putting Southern Connecticut up by one. The Owls managed two more runs off of Cahill in the third when Kerry Iacomini belted a two run homer. After the third both senior Jill Gagnon (Manchester, NH) and freshman Alex Gallant (Salem, NH) stepped in and faced the Owls. Gagnon and Gallant did not allow any hits in their combined 1.1 innings pitched. Senior Vicky Cotter (Hampton, NH) got the call after Gallant and pitched the rest of the game. Cotter gave up two home runs in the fifth, giving Kerry Iacomini her second homer of the day.
At the plate Iacomini limited the Warriors to seven hits all game. The Warriors could not get much going until late in the game when four Warriors strung four hits together to put up two runs. Sophomore Kelsey Ellis (Vancouver, B.C) and junior Casey Conetta (Darien, CT) each had two hits in the loss. The sixth inning effort began when Ellis singled down the left field line with two outs. Gagnon stepped up next and roped a single to centerfield. With two on, freshman Monique Gosselin (Lawrence, MA) picked up an RBI after singling to center, scoring Ellis. Conetta picked up an RBI and her second hit of the day with a single to center, scoring Gagnon. Merrimack's effort fell short and they were unable to put any more runs up.
With the loss Merrimack finishes the season with a 26-19 overall record, improving by 17 wins from last year. This is the second tournament appearance for Coach Schwager in her four years at Merrimack who won her 200th career win last Wednesday. The Warriors will graduate three seniors, Vicky Cotter, Jill Gagnon, and Jill Richards from the squad. Gagnon and teammate Kelsey Ellis were named to the Northeast-10 All-Conference first team this season while Coach Elaine Schwager earned Coach of the Year honors.