Rockville Centre, N.Y. — The NYIT softball team's first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2008 ended in disappointment Friday.
Sixth-seeded Merrimack scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning and eliminated the seventh-seeded Bears, 3-1, at the Rockville Centre Sports Complex.
NYIT had a chance to escape unscathed in the seventh and preserve a tie score, but center fielder Jessica Daniel misplayed Samantha Waskowitz's two-out shot and two unearned runs scored on the play.
Friday's loss ends the distinguished NYIT careers of four seniors: Laura McLaughlin, Tiffany McCracken, Madison Smith and Josephine Santagata.
The Bears, who had lost their NCAA Tournament opener to host Molloy on Thursday, finished the season with a 25-20 record.
McLaughlin, a first-team All-East Coast Conference pitcher, finished her two-year NYIT career with a 1.66 ERA.
After speaking with his entire team postgame, coach Steve Christianson separately gathered the seniors to express his gratitude.
"It was a thank you for everything they've given us — their hard work and dedication," Christianson said. "It didn't finish the way we wanted to, but we were one of 64 teams to make the tournament. It's a big deal. It's not an easy thing.
"We struggled at the beginning of the season. We had some quality wins and some quality losses in there as well. We had a meeting as a team and had some issues and the seniors really took charge at that point and let bygones be bygones. The team started to jell at that point."
Provided by the NYIT Sports Information Department.