NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – The Merrimack College baseball team trailed 8-0 early on Saturday afternoon against the visiting Franklin Pierce University Ravens in game one of a twinbill between the divisional rivals, but the Warriors scored 11 unanswered including a six-run eighth inning to defeat the Ravens, 11-8, snapping a nine-game losing streak against Franklin Pierce that dated back to 2014. Franklin Pierce recovered in the second game, 3-2, to win the weekend series against the Warriors.
Score (G1): Merrimack 11, Franklin Pierce 8
Score (G2): Franklin Pierce 3, Merrimack 2
Records: Merrimack (14-14-1, 6-2-1 NE Div.) | Franklin Pierce (20-10, 8-2 NE Div.)
Location: Warrior Baseball Diamond | North Andover, Mass.
Inning By Inning (G1)
- Top 1st – Redshirt-sophomore Garrett Hudson (Greenfield, Mass.) loaded the bases with one out, but recovered by striking out the final two batters of the frame to bring Merrimack up to bat
- Top 2nd – With a runner on third, junior catcher Ricky Smith (Weymouth, Mass.) fired to third baseman Joey Porricelli (Monroe, Conn.) to snag the runner too far off the bag for the inning's second out, keeping the Ravens off the board
- Top 3rd – The Ravens sent 13 batters to the plate, scoring seven runs in the third. The visitors totaled six singles and a two-run double in the frame to chase Hudson from the contest. Junior Joe Westerman (Maynard, Mass.) replaced Hudson and got out of the inning by striking out Franklin Pierce's cleanup hitter
- Bottom 5th – With the Warriors facing an 8-1 deficit after scoring their first run in the fifth, Merrimack took advantage of two fielding miscues by the Ravens in the sixth. The Navy and Gold sent eight batters to the plate and scored three runs. Redshirt-junior Tyler Lyne (Agawam, Mass.) knocked in one on a single and two more came around on a bases-loaded walk and a fielder's choice to make it an 8-4 game entering the seventh
- Bottom 6th – With two outs and runners on the corners, an attempt at a first-and-third play resulted in the Warriors' fifth run. Freshman Michael Mercuri (Lowell, Mass.) started to steal second, and Franklin Pierce's Tanner Bird committed a balk which allowed Porricelli to trot home
- Bottom 8th – With Westerman holding Pierce scorless, Merrimack came to bat in the eighth down three, 8-5. The inning started with an apparent strikeout, but a passed ball allowed Smith to reach. The next two Warriors reached to load the bases and an infield single to shortstop by freshman Nick Shumski (Salem, N.H.) scored the Warriors' first run of the inning. Lyne followed with a bases-juiced walk and senior Cam DiSarcina (Shirley, Mass.) droved in the tying run on a sacrifice fly to make it an 8-8 game. The Ravens moved within one out of ending the inning, but a two-run single from sophomore Matthew Ronai (Orange, Conn.) put Merrimack ahead for good, 10-8. The Warriors tacked on one more to take a three-run lead into the ninth.
- Top 9th – Approaching the century mark, Westerman started the ninth but gave way to senior closer Nate Spielvogel (Brookline, Mass.) after allowing two baserunners. The hard-throwing righty induced a flyout and consecutive swinging strikeouts to end the game
Inning By Inning (G2)
- Top 1st – Sophomore Tucker Lord (Cromwell, Conn.) took the ball in the second tilt and induced a double play to end the first after allowing two of the first three Ravens to reach
- Bottom 1st – Lyne slapped a double down the leftfield line and took advantage of a bobble in the outfield to reach third. He scored on the next at-bat, a grounder to shortstop from Porricelli that gave the Navy and Gold a 1-0 lead
- Top 3rd – A two-out walk resulted in the Ravens' first run. Lucas Luopa raced towards third on a double from Adam Chase, and an error by Merrimack's leftfielder allowed Luopa to keep on running and touch home to tie the game
- Top 5th – Senior Kyle Hood lined a single to left field to start the fifth, and scored on a base knock up the middle by junior Adam Chase to put the visitors in front, 2-1
- Bottom 6th – Lyne singled and stole second to the sixth and remained halfway around the bases when junior Matt Nicholson (Rockland, Mass.) stepped in with two outs. He greeted a first-pitch fastball from reliever Derek Duffy and drilled it into the gap in left-center, which scored Lyne and tied the game at two-all
- Top 8th – With Lord still pitching, Franklin Pierce appeared destined for a one-two-three eighth, but a throwing error at third extending the frame. With two strikes on him, Stephen Octave hit a single down the line in left to score the third run of the day for the Ravens
- Bottom 9th – Nicholson led the inning off with a single, was replaced by senior Ryan Petrone (Leicester, Mass.) as a pinch runner, but he was quickly erased on an around-the-horn double play. Junior Mike Hoalcraft (Fayetteville, N.Y.) grabbed a bat and pinch hit, looping a single into centerfield to bring senior Chris Cimmino (Orange, Conn.) to the plate. Cimmino faced two strikes and fouled off three straight pitches, but Hoalcraft was picked off to end the game before Cimmino could complete his at-bat
Game 1 Notes
- G1: WP – Westerman (1-0) | LP – Habershaw (0-1) | S: Spielvogel (2)
- Westerman recorded his first win of the season, striking out seven Ravens over a career-high 5.1 innings of relief
- Merrimack's win marked the first of the program against Franklin Pierce since 2014, snapping a seven-game losing streak to the regional power. It also registered as the first home win over the Ravens since the Warriors won the series against their NE10 rivals in 2013
- Mercuri set a career high with three hits form the No. 9 spot in the order, scoring a pair of runs in just his fourth start of the season
- Ronai's game-winning single moved him into first on the team with 26 RBI this season
Game 2 Notes
- G2: WP – Duffy (1-0) | LP – Lord (2-2)
- Despite being saddled with the loss, Lord allowed just one earned run over 7.2 innings of work, finishing his day with nearly 110 pitches. The second-year righty lowered his ERA to 3.45 and now has worked over 30 innings this season
- The Raven's win moved the visitors just percentage points out of first in the Northeast Division
- Lyne scored both of Merrimack's runs, while he tied with Nicholson for the team lead with two hits
Merrimack travels to Assumption College on Tuesday afternoon for a 3:30 p.m. first pitch from Rocheleau Field in Worcester, Mass.