HAVERHILL, Mass. – The Merrimack College baseball program’s offense was stymied through eight innings on Wednesday night at Trinity Stadium, but the Navy and Gold proceeded to send nine players to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, scored six times with two outs and won in walk-off fashion following a double off the bat sophomore Joey Porricelli to beat Assumption College, 6-5. With the win, the Warriors locked up a spot in next week’s Northeast-10 Conference Championship to reach the postseason for the fourth straight year and fifth time in the last six seasons.
Score: Merrimack 6, Assumption 5
Records: Merrimack (24-17, 16-10 NE10, 11-7 NE DIV)
Records: Assumption (17-26-2, 11-14-2 NE10, 8-10-1 NE DIV)
Location: Trinity Stadium | Haverhill, Mass.
NE10 Championship Outlook:
The top-four programs in the Northeast Division standings will advance to the NE10 Championship, which begins with the first round one week from Tuesday. Merrimack needs to win one of its final three games to clinch a third-place finish in the division. There is an outside chance that Merrimack can rise to second place, needing Franklin Pierce to lose its final three games combined with a Merrimack sweep of Stonehill.
- SNHU – 16-3 NE DIV
- Franklin Pierce – 13-5 NE DIV
- Merrimack – 11-7 NE DIV
- Stonehill – 8-9-1 NE DIV
- Assumption – 8-10-1 NE DIV
- Bentley – 7-11 NE DIV
- Saint Anselm – 5-13 NE DIV
- Saint Michael’s – 4-14 NE DIV
- Fast forward to the bottom of the ninth inning, and Assumption controlled the game through the first 8.5 innings. Sending their starter back out for the ninth, the Greyhounds were one out away from a win with runners on the corners through four plate appearances for the Warriors, but that’s when things changed
- Senior Mike Hoalcraft took a 1-2 pitch off the elbow to load the bases, and classmate Ricky Smith followed with a two-strike RBI single to make it a 5-2 game
- Assumption made a pitching change at that point, but a wild pitch promptly brought Merrimack’s third run of the inning across. Facing a 1-2 count, junior Anthony Garbarino watched three straight pitches go by to put runners on first and third for sophomore Nick Shumski. Another hitter who faced a two-strike situation, the shortstop lined a single into right center, scoring Smith to bring Merrimack within one run
- With Porricelli walking to the dish, the Greyhounds made their second pitching change of the inning. The second pitch he saw was thrown behind the sophomore, allowing Garbarino to scamper home from third to tie the game. Merrimack’s starting third basemen sent the next pitch deep into left field, over the Greyhounds’ outfielder’s head to win the game as Shumski rounded third and reached home without a throw
- Junior Riley Sorenson came out of the bullpen and threw his longest outing in two years, which allowed Merrimack to remain in striking distance. The righty retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced from the sixth inning on, before relenting one run in the ninth on a sacrifice fly that brought Assumption’s advantage to 5-0
- The visitors got on the board early, scoring three times in the top of the second. The first two Greyhounds reached and with one out the first run scored on a RBI single. With the bases loaded, a walk plated the second run while a RBI groundout accounted for the third run of the frame
- Freshman Vin Zappulla put up zeros in the third and fourth, but Assumption scored once in the top of the fifth to make it a 4-0 game. Merrimack put runners in scoring position in the third, fourth and fifth frames, but could not get a run across
Notes and Notables:
- WP: Sorenson (1-0) | LP: K. Chudoba (0-10)
- Sorenson’s Final Line (W): 4.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K
- Porricelli moved into a tie for first on the team with his 14th double of the season, which marked his team-best 18th extra-base hit of the 2018 campaign. The sophomore was one of two Merrimack players with multi-hit nights
- Smith was the other, who collected his 10th game with at least two hits and knocked in the first two runs of the ninth inning. The two-year captain set a new career high on Wednesday with his 31st and 32nd hits of his senior campaign
- Sorenson’s four innings of worked marked the junior’s longest effort in over two years, dating back to April 27, 2016. The Sandwich, Mass. native tied his career high in strikeouts with five
- Beginning with Hoalcraft, every hitter prior to Porricelli’s walk-off faced their final strike. Hoalcraft was hit by a pitch, Smith singled, Garbarino drew a walk and Shumski also singled
Merrimack will head to Easton, Mass. for three games in three days beginning on Thursday at 2:30 p.m., wrapping up the regular season with its series against the Stonehill Skyhawks.