FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Merrimack College baseball team began its eight-game week in Florida by facing the reigning national champions and top-ranked Nova Southeastern at the NSU Baseball Complex in Fort Lauderdale, Fla on Monday night. The game was tied at four runs apiece early on, but the Sharks surged forward to score 12 unanswered and win, 18-4.
Score: #1 Nova Southeastern 18, Merrimack 4
Records: Merrimack (3-5) | #1 Nova Southeastern (16-6)
Location: NSU Baseball Complex | Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
How It Happened
- 1st inning – Senior Perry Kulaga (Lincroft, N.J.) got the ball for the Warriors and was tagged for four runs in the opening inning. The first three Sharks reached base before a two-single single staked the top-ranked team in the nation to a 2-0 lead. Kulaga nearly limited the damage there, after a fielder's choice and a strikeout sent two down with two on, but another single played two more to make it 4-0 Nova
- 2nd inning – Three straight singles to start the second and a throwing error got Merrimack on the board. Junior Mike Hoalcraft (Fayetteville, N.Y.) scored on a wild pitch, and classmate Ricky Smith (Weymouth, Mass.) followed with a RBI double to make it a 4-3 game. Two batters later senior Ryan Petrone (Leicester, Mass.) stepped to the plate and tied the score with a run-scoring single. Nova immediately got two back in the bottom half, however, to take a 6-4 lead through two
- 4th inning – The Sharks broke the game open in the fourth, getting to the combination of Kulaga, sophomore Daniel Amidon (Andover, Mass.) and redshirt-junior Michael Nocera (Bristol, Conn.) for eight runs to make it a 14-4 game. The Warriors were victimized by five walks, two hits batsmen and a three-run homer during the frame
- 5th inning – The final scoring plays of the night occurred during the fifth innings, as the Sharks pushed across four more baserunners to increase their advantage to 14 runs
Inside The Numbers
- WP: Ortiz (2-0)| LP: Kulaga (1-1)
- Three Warriors collected multi-hit efforts, including two-hits performances from junior Matt Nicholson (Rockland, Mass.), Hoalcraft and sophomore Matthew Ronai (Orange, Conn.). The trio represented hitters No. 4-6 in Merrimack's lineup
- After allowing four earned runs over his first 1.2 innings of work, Nocera settled down to shutout the Sharks over the final three innings. He finished his relief appearance with four strikeouts and induced a keep sixth-inning double play to prevent Nova from extending its lead
- With the loss, the Warriors fell to 0-2 all-time against the Sharks, who best Merrimack during the 2008 season
Merrimack plays a doubleheader tomorrow morning agianst Post University at the Santaluces Athletic Complex in Lantana, Fla. The first pitch of the opener is set for 11 a.m.