Softball Drops Two at NTC on Opening Day

CLERMONT, Fla.- The Merrimack softball team kicked off the spring with a pair of losses at the National Training Center in Clermont, Fla. The Warriors fell to No. 17 Rollins 2-0 and to Southern Connecticut State 6-2.

Merrimack opened the 2011 slate with a tight 2-0 loss to No. 17 Rollins Sunday afternoon at the National Training Center in Clermont, Fla. The Warriors begin the season with a 0-1 record while the Tars improved to 26-1 on the year.

Kara Melillo (North Andover, Mass.) registered the first of two Merrimack hits on the day with a single through the left side of the infield in the second inning.

The Tars plated the game's first run in the fifth inning as Brittney Pumpelly crossed the plate for the 1-0 lead.

Down 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Tawny Palmieri (Peabody, Mass.) led off with a triple to center field in her first game in a Warrior uniform. Kelli Jo Deardorff (Bedford, Mass.) followed with a walk to give Merrimack runners on the corners with no outs. Nicole LoPilato (Medford, Mass.) pinch ran for Deardorff and swiped second. The Warriors were unable to push a run across the plate in the inning.

Rollins added its second run of the game in the top of the seventh inning to secure the Tars' 24th-straight win.

Deardorff tossed a complete game in the pitcher's circle for Merrimack. She allowed eight hits and one earned run in the first outing of the year. Deardorff recorded three strikeouts on the afternoon.

In the nightcap, Merrimack squared off against fellow Northeast-10 team Southern Connecticut State. The Warriors dropped a 6-2 decision to the Owls to sink to 0-2 overall. Southern Connecticut moves to 6-3 on the season with the win.

Merrimack manufactured both runs in the fourth inning with three doubles. Monique Gosselin (Lawrence, Mass.) sparked the barrage with a two-bagger to the fence. Melillo followed with a double to drive in Gosselin for the Warriors' first run of the 2011 season. Keaira Monet Perry (Bellingham, Mass.) knocked in Melillo with the third double of the frame.

Gosselin finished the game with a 2-for-3 performance from the plate with a pair of doubles.

Curran Hubbard (Laconia, N.H.) pitched five innings of relief for Merrimack and allowed just three walks in the game.

The Warriors will look to claim their first victory of the year as they take on Dowling in a doubleheader March 21, 2011.