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Kalantzakos Goes The Distance, Leads Merrimack to NE10 Baseball Final

MANCHESTER, N.H.  – After falling to the No. 8 New Haven Chargers in the winners bracket of the 2018 Northeast-10 Conference Championship to start Friday’s action, the Merrimack College baseball program saw freshman Timmy Kalantzakos deliver a complete game and graduate student Tyler Lyne go 4-for-4 at the dish to lead a nine-run offensive attack as the Warriors discarded top-seeded Southern New Hampshire to advance to Saturday’s NE10 Final. It will be the program’s first appearance in Championship Saturday since 2013, and Merrimack will need a win to force a winner-take-all second game between the Warriors and Chargers.

Video: Final Out & Celebration

The Basics
#8 New Haven 9, Merrimack 0
Score: Merrimack 9, SNHU 2
Records: Merrimack (29-19) | #8 New Haven (37-8) | SNHU (35-15)
Location: SNHU Baseball Field | Manchester, N.H.

Championship Weekend (double elimination)
Thursday, May 10
Game 5: (1SW) Le Moyne vs. (3NE) Merrimack – 12 p.m.  
Game 6: (2SW) New Haven vs. (1NE) Southern New Hampshire – 3 p.m.
Friday, May 11
Game 7: (1NE) Southern New Hampshire def. (1SW) Le Moyne – 8-5
Game 8: (2SW) New Haven def. (3NE) Merrimack – 9-0 
Game 9: (3NE) Merrimack def. (1NE) Southern New Hampshire – 9-2
Saturday, May 12
Game 10: (2SW) New Haven vs. (3NE) Merrimack – 10 a.m.
Game 11: If necessary – 35 minutes following completion of Game 10  

Rapid Recap (Game 1)

  • New Haven sent all nine of its hitters to the plate in the first, jumping out to a 5-0 lead. The Chargers totaled four hits and started the game with back-to-back walks. Four run-scoring singles as well as a sacrifice fly accounted for the scoring off freshman Vin Zappulla
  • The Navy and Gold put two runners on in the second and third innings, but could not score on either occasion. Zappulla held the Chargers scoreless in the second and third, keeping Merrimack’s deficit at five
  • Zappulla’s defense picked him up in the bottom of the fifth, as the rookie allowed three baserunners in the inning. The first runner was eliminated when senior Ricky Smith gunned the Chargers’ Tom Walraven out trying to steal second. With baserunners on first and second, a sinking liner appeared to be trouble, but freshman Michael Jamele made a diving catch to end the inning
  • Junior William Keegan singled down the left-field line for his second hit of the day with one out in the sixth, but did not advance past second base. Zappulla relented two more runs in the bottom half to end his day, while one run scored off of reliever Trevor Cooley to make it an 8-0 game
  • New Haven added one marker in the eighth to create the 9-0 final

Rapid Recap (Game 2)

  • After not playing in game one, Lyne drew a five-pitch walk, stole second and reached third on a wild pitch. Lyne then scored on a wild pitch that followed a swinging third strike. Keegan reached first on the play and Merrimack took a 1-0 advantage
  • Keegan came up big again in the third, who was brought to the plate with two outs after an intentional walk to senior Matt Nicholson. With Nicholson on second and Lyne on third, Keegan hit a two-strike single to left field to give the Warriors a 3-0 lead
  • Kalantzakos got off to a strong start, allowing just one hit through four frames and retiring 12 of the first 13 Penmen he faced. Merrimack’s gave the rookie more support, as junior Matthew Ronai knocked in a run and Lyne scored on another wild pitch to make it a 5-0 game through 4.5 innings
  • The bottom of the fifth saw the Penmen tack on their first run of the day, but the inning ended with a runner thrown out at home as junior Cory Wasylow fired into sophomore Nick Shumski who delivered a strike to Smith at the plate to get the runner without a play at the plate
  • The team’s traded runs scored off throwing errors in the sixth inning, leaving the Warriors with a 6-2 through six innings. Fast forward to the top of the eighth, and Shumski collected a two-run double down the right-field line that extended the Warriors’ lead to 8-2. Kalantzakos quickly erased a leadoff single with a double play and a lineout, needing only three pitches to do so. He then saw four Penmen in the ninth, ending the night on a punch out to send the Warriors to do the NE10 Final

Top Performers (Game 1):

  • WP: Mestre (7-2) | LP: Zappulla (4-4)
  • Zappulla’s Final Line (L): 5.1 IP, 7 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 1 K, 7 BB
  • Keegan and Shumski each posted two-hit games, but they were the lone Warriors with knocks on the day. For Keegan, it marked the junior’s second career multi-hit effort
  • Making just his third collegiate start, Jamele put forth an impressive defensive performance. The Brockport, N.Y. native finished with eight putouts in center field, four more than any other Warrior

Top Performers (Game 2):

  • WP: Kalantzakos (3-1) | LP: Messier (4-2)
  • Kalantzakos’s Final Line (W): 9.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 5 K, 2 BB
  • Lyne posted his second four-hit day of Championship Weekend, leading Merrimack’s offense with four hits, four runs, three steals and a pair of extra-base hits
  • Kalantzakos picked the perfect time for the best outing of his career. The Andover, Mass. native did not allow an earned run for the first time over his first six career starts
  • He finished with five strikeouts and became the third different Warrior with a complete game this season
  • Keegan earned another start and finished as one of three Warriors with two RBI. Ronai and Shumski each drove in a pair, as well

Notes and Notables:

  • Lyne’s triple in the ninth marked the outfielders 77th hit of the season, breaking Merrimack’s single-season hits record that had stood for 24 years. Jerry Parent owned the previous record, totaling 76 hits in 1994
  • The three-bagger also marked the 14th of his career, which tied the program’s career triples record with Jeff Bercume ’09
  • Head Coach Nick Barese rests on 98 career victories entering the final day of the NE10 Championship
  • With the win, Merrimack has tied the second most in program history. The Navy and Gold will put together just the third 30-win season in school history with at least one win tomorrow, which would tie the program record
  • Merrimack will have a chance to win its fourth NE10 Championship in school history, and snap a 22-year drought. The Warriors last won a league tournament in 1996, which was the second of back-to-back titles
  • If the Warriors prevail, the program will claim its eighth NE10 Championship, which would rank as the second most in the league
  • The program recordws its 28th win in the NE10 Championship, which ranks second among NE10 member institutions
  • The Warriors are now 3-3 this season against nationally ranked programs and 1-2 against New Haven

Up Next
The Navy and Gold will take the field tomorrow at 10 a.m., facing No. 8 New Haven back at the SNHU Baseball Field. Merrimack needs to win to force an eighth and final game of NE10 Championship Weekend, which would take a winner-take-all scenario. With a conference title, the Warriors would also claim the NE10’s automatic berth to the 2018 NCAA Tournament.

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