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Baseball Falls in Series Finale to Sacred Heart

Links: Box Score

ANDOVER, MASS. – Playing in its final home game of 2021, the Merrimack College baseball team lost by a 9-3 margin to Sacred Heart University at Warrior Diamond. The Warriors still prevailed in the Northeast Conference (NEC) series, however, via their victories over the Pioneers on Friday and Saturday.

Junior Michael Golankiewicz extended his hitting streak to nine games with a two-hit performance, and graduate student Nick Shumski hit a solo homer to lead the offense. Senior Jake Thibault delivered strong relief pitching, retiring the first nine batters he faced in 3.1 innings of work.

The Basics

Score:
Sacred Heart 9, Merrimack 3

Records: Merrimack (17-20, 12-12 NEC)
| Sacred Heart (20-22, 15-9 NEC)
Location: Andover, Mass. | Warrior Diamond  

Rapid Recap

  • Sacred Heart scored three times in the top of the first. The Pioneers scored on a sacrifice fly, RBI double and a run-scoring fielder’s choice off Merrimack starter Wyatt Villella to build a 3-0 lead
  • The Warriors loaded the bases in the bottom of the first with no one out. After a foul out to third, graduate student Thomas Joyce drew a walk to score the team’s first run. Sophomore Jake Macchi dug in next, and hit a sharp grounder up the middle, but a diving stop by the Pioneers’ shortstop led to an inning-ending double play
  • After two scoreless innings, Merrimack cut its deficit in half in the bottom of the fourth. Macchi smacked a two-out double, and scored on a single by classmate Alex Haba to make it a 3-2 ball game
  • The visitors responded by scoring four times in the top of the fifth. The first five batters of the inning reached, resulting in three runs to create a 6-2 disparity. A two-out RBI single chased Villella from the game, but Thibault came on to get the final out. Sacred Heart owned a 7-2 advantage after the inning
  • Shumski hit a leadoff homer in the sixth to bring Merrimack within four, 7-3. Merrimack stranded two runners in the seventh, which proved to be the team’s best chance to mount a rally. Sacred Heart tacked on two runs in the ninth to create the 9-3 final score

Top Performers // Notes

  • WP: Babuschak (4-1) | LP: Villella (1-4) | S: Coffey (8)
  • Shumski moved into a tie for second on the team in homers this season with five
  • Golankiewicz’s hitting streak has now featured five multi-hit games, including Sunday’s two-hit performance. All six of his doubles this season have occurred during the streak, and his average has increased to .277 on the year over the last nine contests
  • Macchi’s fourth-inning double was the first of his career
  • Thibault posted his fourth relief outing of the season that featured at least three shutout innings

Up Next:
The Warriors play their final non-conference game of the season on Tuesday when Merrimack visits Boston College for a 5 p.m. tilt.

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