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NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Facing a 7-1 deficit entering the bottom of the ninth inning, the Merrimack College baseball team drove in three runs and brought the tying run to the plate with runners in scoring position, but saw the comeback effort half there as the visiting Franklin Pierce University Ravens held on for the 7-4 victory on Friday afternoon from the Warriors Baseball Diamond. The contest marked the home opener for the Navy and Gold.
Score: Franklin Pierce 7, Merrimack 4
Records: Merrimack (13-13-1, 5-1-1 NE Div.) | Franklin Pierce (19-9, 7-1 NE Div.)
Location: Warrior Baseball Diamond | North Andover, Mass.
Inning By Inning
- Top 1st – Facing junior starter Anthony Lupi (Dover, N.H.), the visiting Ravens loaded the bases on three straight singles to start the game. Lupi responded by recording two straight outs on a foul out and a strikeout to nearly escape from the jam, but a single into left followed by a bobble by freshman Michael Mercuri (Lowell, Mass.) allowed a second runner to score. A second Merrimack error resulted in two more Ravens' runs and through a half inning, Franklin Pierce held a 4-0 advantage
- Top 5th – With runners on the corners and one out, Lupi nearly got out of the frame with a double play but the Ravens' John Friday beat out a bang-bang play at first to score Franklin Pierce's fifth run of the day
- Bottom 5th – Merrimack countered with it first run. Junior catcher Ricky Smith (Weymouth, Mass.) hit a ball to the wall in left field that evaded the Franklin Pierce fielder, and scored on a single from senior Paul Buckley (Sagamore Beach, Mass.). The visitors led 5-1 through five
- Top 6th – Three hits to start the sixth – two doubles and a single – resulted in two runs for Franklin Pierce and chased Lupi from the game. Senior captain Matt DiNello (Southington, Conn.) relieved the southpaw and got out of the inning, limiting the damage to two runs
- Bottom 9th – DiNello threw scoreless innings in the seventh, eighth and ninth to keep Merrimack within six runs, and a leadoff single by junior Matt Nicholson (Rockland, Mass.) and a double by freshman Joey Porricelli (Monroe, Conn.) put runners in scoring position for Smith with one out. The junior captain chopped a seeing-eye single up the middle to score both runners and made it a 7-3 game. Senior Ryan Petrone (Leicester, Mass.) replaced him as a pinch runner and reached third following catcher's interference and an error, which loaded the bases for the Navy and Gold. Petrone scored on a groundout, bringing redshirt-junior Tyler Lyne (Agawam, Mass.) to the plate with two outs, but he popped out to second on a 1-0 fastball to end the game
Inside The Numbers
- WP: Amendola (4-2) | LP: Lupi (3-2)
- Franklin Pierce was led by their junior righty John Amendola, who threw his third complete game of the season. Amendola was charged with three earned runs, and struck out seven Warriors while only walking one batter
- Only four of the seven runs that scored on Lupi were earned, as the left-handed sinker baller battled threw five-plus innings of work
- DiNello collected his best relief effort of the season, lowering his ERA by over five runs with four scoreless innings
- Smith continued to swing a hot bat, posting his third straight 2-for-4 effort. Since March 26 Merrimack's captain is hitting 12-for-28 (.429) with eight RBI
- Porricelli also notched a two-hit game, extending his hitting streak to 14 straight. The freshman now has three consecutive multi-hit efforts increasing his batting average to .339, the second highest on the Navy and Gold
The Warriors conclude their series with Franklin Pierce tomorrow afternoon with a doubleheader beginning at 12 p.m.