Links: Box Score
MANCHESTER, N.H. – Needing a series sweep against fourth-ranked Southern New Hampshire to win the program's first-ever Northeast Division crown, the Merrimack College baseball team suffered a 6-2 loss on Thursday evening at Penmen Field. With the victory, SNHU clinched the division title and top seed in next week's Northeast-10 Conference Championship
Score: #4 SNHU 6, Merrimack 2
Records: Merrimack (23-18, 15-4 NE10 NE) | #4 SNHU (37-7, 18-1 NE10 NE)
Location: Penmen Field | Manchester, N.H.
NE10 Postseason Outlook:
The top-four teams in the Northeast Division advance to the NE10 Championship First Round, which will be held on Tuesday, May 9. The top seed hosts the fourth seed, and the second hosts the third, with the two victors advancing to NE10 Championship Weekend. The highest remaining seed from the Southwest Division will host championship weekend, which begins on Thursday, May 11.
Merrimack Scenarios: Merrimack now knows it will play Franklin Pierce on Tuesday in the NE10 First Round, but seeding is still up for grabs. The Warriors need to sweep the Penmen on Saturday to finish in second in the division and host the Ravens on Tuesday. One loss will ensure a third-place finish and a trip to Rindge, N.H.
1.) Southern New Hampshire – 17-1
2.) Merrimack – 15-4
3.) Franklin Pierce – 16-5
4.) Bentley – 9-10
5.) Stonehill – 9-12
6.) Assumption – 6-13
7.) Saint Michael's – 4-17
8.) Saint Anselm – 3-18
Inning By Inning
- Bottom 2nd – Facing junior lefty PJ Browne (Rutland, Mass.), Southern New Hampshire got on the board first with a two-out, bases-loaded single into right field. One run scored, but junior Matt Nicholson (Rockland, Mass.) fired a frozen rope from right to gun out a second runner trying to score
- Top 4th – Merrimack tied the game, with sophomore Matthew Ronai (Orange, Conn.) executing a safety squeeze to score freshman Joey Porricelli (Monroe, Conn.)
- Bottom 4th – The Penmen answered immediately, as Kyle Ruth laced a two-run double to give the division leaders a 3-1 lead
- Top 5th – Not known for hitting for power, senior Paul Buckley (Sagamore Beach, Mass.) drove his first-ever homer out of Penmen Field to cut the Warriors' deficit to 3-2
- Bottom 6th – John Stanton chased Browne from the ball game by taking a 3-2 offering out of the ballpark. Sophomore Cam Monagle (Cambridge, Mass.) entered the game and got the next to batters to end the sixth
- Bottom 7th – SNHU added a pair of runs off senior Matt DiNello (Southington, Conn.), finishing the night with six runs
Notes and Notables
- WP: Stearns (6-0) | LP: Browne (3-3)
- Browne's Final Line (L): 5.1 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 7 K
- Merrimack's offense scatted six hits, with multi-hit games for Porricelli and senior Cam DiSarcina (Shirley, Mass.)
- Buckley's first homer is another note on a career season for the second baseman. He has career highs this season in at-bats (81), hits (26), runs (8), RBI (7), extra-base hits (5), doubles (3), triples (1) and home runs (1). His slash line of .321/.368/.420 is on base to shatter his previous personal bests
- Stearns went the distance for the Penmen, striking out nine Warriors for his sixth win
The Warriors conclude the regular season on Saturday when Merrimack returns to Penmen Field for a doubleheader beginning at 3 p.m.