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WESTWOOD, Mass. – Redshirt-junior Tyler Lyne (Agawam, Mass.) recorded a three-hit day and scored three runs, leading an offensive attack that featured 10 runs as the Merrimack College baseball team began its three-game series against the Stonehill College Skyhawks with a 10-4 win on Friday afternoon. The game was played at the turf diamond at Xaverian Brothers High School as the series was moved due to unplayable field conditions at the Warrior Baseball Diamond.
Score: Merrimack 10, Stonehill 4
Records: Merrimack (10-10-1, 2-0-1 NE Div.) | Stonehill (7-14, 2-2 NE Div.)
Location: Xaverian Brothers High School | Westwood, Mass.
Inning By Inning
- Bottom 1st – Two walks over the first four Merrimack batters created a two-on, two-out situation for the Navy and Gold. Junior Mike Hoalcraft (Fayetteville, N.Y.) singled to load the bases, and red-hot sophomore Matthew Ronai (Orange, Conn.) came to plate to drive in two on a RBI single and make it a 2-0 game. Sophomore Ricky Smith (Weymouth, Mass.) got the start behind the plate and added a run-scoring single to close out a three-run first for the Warriors
- Bottom 2nd – Lyne started the second off with a single, which was followed by two straight ground outs that advanced Merrimack's leadoff hitter to third. Junior Matt Nicholson (Rockland, Mass.) plated Lyne on a double down the leftfield line, and raced home shortly after on a Hoalcraft two-bagger into the gap in left-center to increase Merrimack's lead to 5-0
- Bottom 3rd – With two on and one out, Lyne once again generated offense by striking a double to center field that allowed Smith and graduate student Mike Forgione (North Branford, Conn.) to score
- Top 4th – Entering the fourth by facing one batter short of the minimum, junior starter Anthony Lupi (Dover, N.H.) notched his third one-two-three frame including back-to-back punch outs
- Top 7th – After Stonehill scored once in the fifth and sixth innings, and Merrimack added a run in the bottom of the sixth, Lupi left the game holding an 8-2 lead with one out in the seventh in favor of senior Perry Kulaga (Lincroft, N.J.). Kulaga allowed one inherited runner to score, but recovered to retire the final two batters of the inning with the bases loaded on a strikeout and a groundout to first
- Bottom 7th – Freshman Joey Porricelli (Monroe, Conn.) pushed Merrimack's lead back to six, 9-3, with a RBI single
- Top 9th – Each squad added a run in the eighth, but Kulaga returned to the hill in the ninth to finish off the game in four batters, ending the contest on his fourth strikeout
Inside The Numbers
- WP: Lupi (3-1) | LP: Hurley (2-1)
- Lupi worked into the seventh inning for the third straight start, recording a final line of 6.1 innings, eight hits, three runs and seven strikeouts. His third victory of the season gave the third-year southpaw a 5-4 career record as he moved within five innings of setting a new personal best. Lupi has allowed three earned runs or less in all five of his starts this season
- Lyne moved up to the leadoff spot for the Warriors, and the move paid dividends. Merrimack's centerfielder tied a season high with three hits and set a new high this year with three runs scored. He was one of three Warriors with a multi-RBI effort, as well
- Making his second straight start, Smith registered a career-high with three hits as the Warriors got their best offensive output of the season from the catcher position. The third-year backstop was playing in a familiar place, as Smith played at Xaverian during his high school days
- For the third time this season, Ronai drove in three runs. The sophomore slugger increased his hitting streak to 20 games and currently leads the Navy and Gold in hits (32), RBI (19) and batting average (.372)
Merrimack returns to Xaverian tomorrow morning to conclude its series with the Skyhawks. The programs will play a doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m.