Softball Splits Doubleheader with SNHU in Conference-Opener

NORTH ANDOVER, MA – Opening the Northeast-10 Conference portion of their 2010 schedule, the Merrimack College softball team (5-10) earned a doubleheader split with the Penmen of Southern New Hampshire University (4-8) Friday afternoon on Volpe Field.

After dropping a 9-3 decision in game one, the Warriors bounced back for a 7-4 victory behind 10 hits and an error-free game.

Senior captain Emily Cummings (Andover, MA) was huge for the Warriors at the plate, tallying three doubles on the afternoon, two of which came in the winning effort.

“It was great to see [Emily] have a great day,” said head coach Elaine Schwager.  “She stuck with her swing and came through at the right times for us today.”

A first-inning home run from junior Kara Melillo (North Andover, MA) gave the Warriors an early 3-0 lead before classmate Rachel Lozeau (Nashua, NH) tacked on another two runs in the second, bringing home Cummings and senior Atlee Cahill (Gloucester, MA) who reached with no outs.

Freshman Kelli Jo Deardorff (Bedford, MA) picked up her third win of the year (3-0) in 4.0 innings allowing four hits and one run.  Sophomore Alex Gallant (Salem, NH) relieved Deardorff to pitch three innings.

Said Schwager of Deardorff, the first-year pitcher, “it’s great to see a freshman with such poise on the mound.  She and Alex [Gallant] pitched great for us in game two.”

In the fifth inning, Cummings and senior captain Jill Bradford (Stoneham, MA) tallied RBIs to add the run support needed for the 7-4 final and game two win.

In the opener, the Warriors struck the ball well and mustered nine hits, but that was no match for the Penmen’s 14 base knocks.  In fact, four Penmen had multiple-hit games, including Amanda Barton’s three and as many RBIs.

“You have to give credit to Southern New Hampshire,” said Schwager.  “I think we hit the ball well, but they played a great game all around.  We were able to clean up our defense in game two so we gave ourselves a better chance to win.”

For the Warriors, sophomore Monique Gosselin (Lawrence, MA) had two hits and two RBIs, while Gallant batted a trio of singles.  Gosselin’s final hit of the game was a two-out, two-run triple that cut the lead to six, but a subsequent fly-out ended the opener, 9-3.

Merrimack returns to action tomorrow (Friday) against UMass-Lowell for another Conference doubleheader beginning at noon on Volpe Field.