SOFTBALL DROPS TWO-GAME SET TO START 2014 FRIDAY
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – The Merrimack College softball team opened its 2014 campaign Friday at the Sailfish Showdown Tournament in Florida, but the Warriors dropped a pair of decisions – 14-4 to Nova Southeastern and 14-1 to host Palm Beach Atlantic – to commence the season.
Score (Nova Southeastern): Nova Southeastern 14, Merrimack 4
Score (Palm Beach Atlantic): Palm Beach Atlantic 14, Merrimack 1
Records: Merrimack (0-2) | Nova Southeastern (6-6 ) | Palm Beach Atlantic (7-0)
Location: Lake Catherine Park | Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
How It Happened: Nova Southeastern
After Merrimack tied the game in the bottom of the second at a run apiece, Nova Southeastern erupted with six combined runs over the third and fourth frames to take a six-run lead and added seven more insurance tallies in the final two innings en route to the Warriors' 14-4 setback in the season opener.
Three Warriors finished with two-hit efforts against the Sailfish, as seniors Ashley Perry (Winchendon, Mass.) and Kelsey Francher (Weare, N.H.), as well as freshman Kaleigh Finigan (Medford, Mass.) accounted for six of Merrimack's nine hits. Freshman Samantha Waskowitz (Killingworth, Conn.), junior Lindsay Gibbs (Acton, Mass.) and senior Keaira Monet Perry (Bellingham, Mass.) also posted base knocks for the Warriors in a losing effort.
Junior Valerie Bauer (Salem, N.H.) was tagged for the loss after allowing all nine runs while finishing with two strikeouts, while rookie Haley Currie (Burlington, Mass.) made her collegiate debut and pitched the final two innings, striking out three while yielding two hits along the way.
Finigan plated Merrimack's first run of the season after reaching on a fielder's choice, while Monet Perry blasted a two-RBI double in the fifth to score a pair and claw to within four (7-3), but the Sharks exploded for three more runs in the sixth and four more in the seventh to put the game out of reach. In the final frame, Francher drilled an RBI triple, but that would be the closest Merrimack would claw to within.
A Closer Look: Nova Southeastern
- Nova Southeastern finished with an 11-9 edge in hits, as two different Sharks posted three-hit performances
- Monet Perry's two RBI represented a team-high for the Navy and Gold; NSU's Erika Garcia, meanwhile, drove in five for the Sharks
- Merrimack stranded eight runners compared to seven for Nova Southeastern
- The Warriors finished 9-for-31 at the plate (.290)
How It Happened: Palm Beach Atlantic
Squaring off against an unbeaten Palm Beach Atlantic squad, the hosts tacked on a run in each of the first two innings before exploding for 12 combined scores in the third, fourth and fifth frames, as Merrimack could not answer the firepower of the Sailfish en route to a mercy-rule-shortened 14-1 setback in its second game of the day.
Four separate Warriors added a hit apiece, but the Sailfish ripped off 16 base knocks in just five trips to the plate. Senior Allison Berthiaume (Berkley, Mass.) scored the lone Warrior run and added a hit, while Francher drove her in during Merrimack's only run-producing inning in the bottom of the fourth to account for all of the Warriors' offense.
Sophomore Alexis Perry (Westford, Vt.) lasted 2 1/3 innings in her first appearance of the season, while Currie and fellow freshman Mariah Tenney (Winchendon, Mass.) also logged time in relief for the Warriors, with the latter making her collegiate debut in the process.
A Closer Look: Palm Beach Atlantic
- Ten different Palm Beach Atlantic players recorded at least one hit, with Lisa Johnston's three-hit performance standing out
- Palm Beach tallied one run apiece in the first and second frames before recording four more in the third, three more in the fourth and a five-spot in the fifth
- Merrimack was held to a 4-for-18 performance at the plate (.222)
Merrimack continues its run in the Sailfish Showdown Tournament tomorrow (Feb. 22) with two more contests. First up, the Warriors face Saint Leo at 11 a.m. before squaring off against Lynn a 3 p.m.