FLUSHING, N.Y. – Trailing by three runs in the sixth, the Merrimack softball team rallied with two scores but saw its rally ultimately fall short by a run, as the Warriors dropped a close, 7-6 decision on the road to Queens (N.Y.) in a Wednesday afternoon non-conference showdown at Knights Field.
Falling to 6-11 on the year, Merrimack and the Knights (7-12) were originally scheduled to play a doubleheader, but traffic delays and lack of light mandated the decision to cancel game two. The Warriors will host Southern New Hampshire in their home opener Friday (April 5) at 3 p.m.
"Obviously we did get the result we wanted, and that made it a tough day and a long day," head coach Jim Cardello said afterward. "I liked the way our offense came through at times, but we aren't putting together complete, seven-inning games, and we have to do that with important conference games coming up."
Despite a 10-hit, two-home run performance at the plate, the Warrior pitching staff surrendered 14 hits to the Knights, as the home side used two runs in the fourth and one in the fifth go take a three-run (7-4) lead.
Merrimack would only muster those two runs in the top of the sixth before the final out was recorded.
Senior Tawny Palmieri (Peabody, Mass.) and junior Ashley Perry (Winchendon, Mass.) each posted homers for the visitors, as the former notched an impressive four-RBI day, while the latter led the team with three hits. Junior Keaira Monet Perry (Bellingham, Mass.) also added a double for the Warriors.
Senior Kelli Jo Deardorff (Bedford, Mass.) took the loss after surrendering seven runs. The senior struck out three and walked one, while classmate Alie Thomas (Bedford, N.H.) and freshman Alexis Perry (Westford, Vt.) also logged innings in relief.
Merrimack hopped ahead in the first off a solo homer from Perry, only to be answered by a three-run inning in the bottom of the first by the hosts. Right on cue, the Warriors responded with three more runs of their own in the top of the second highlighted by Palmieri's three-run blast, as both sides' offenses were in tune through the early innings.
Queens tied it up in the bottom of the third before taking the lead on an RBI triple and a run-scoring single an inning later. The hosts added one more run in the fifth to go ahead by three, 7-4, after five innings.
The Warriors mounted a charge in the top of the sixth, as Palmieri and senior Helen Gillis (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) each accounted for an RBI apiece, but that would be the closest Merrimack would claw to within after stranding a runner in the sixth and ending the game on a strikeout in the seventh.