TULSA, Okla. – Junior right-hander Timmy Kalantzakos threw into the seventh inning on Friday afternoon, freshman Alex Haba debuted with a three-hit performance and the Merrimack College baseball team nearly took down the preseason favorites in the Summit League, falling to Oral Roberts University, 2-1, in the Warriors’ season opener on Friday afternoon at J.L. Johnson Stadium in Tulsa, Okla.
The contest marked the team’s first-ever Division I game as the program debuted on the national stage to start Merrimack’s 48-game slate this spring. The Warriors ended their Division II tenure with nearly 130 wins over the last five seasons including back-to-back conference championship game appearances and a Northeast-10 crown in 2018. Merrimack will play a full slate of Northeast Conference (NEC) games beginning this March.
After an all-conference campaign as a sophomore, Kalantzakos picked up right where he left off as the team’s Opening Day starter. Merrimack scored in the top of the third to tie the game up at one, and nearly escaped an eighth-inning jam to keep the game tied, but the Golden Eagles pushed one run across to emerge victorious.
Score: Oral Roberts 2, Merrimack 1
Records: Merrimack (0-1) | Oral Roberts (1-0)
Location: J.L. Johnson Stadium | Tulsa, Okla.
- After retiring two of the first three batters he faced, Kalantzakos lost control of the strike zone and walked three straight batters to relent the first run. Haba and senior Joey Porricelli singled to start the top of the third. Two batters later and with two outs, sophomore Kurtis Stadnicki singled through the left side, and Haba came around to score after a bobble in the outfield to tie the game
- Both teams left at least one runner on in each half of the fourth and fifth innings; Kalantzakos then recorded his second one-two-three frame of the day to usher on the top of the seventh. The Warriors nearly pulled ahead there after senior Nick Shumski sacrificed both Haba and Porricelli into scoring position with one out. Both players were left on base, however, keeping the game tied
- In the bottom half, Kalantzakos retired the first two batters. Sophomore Wyatt Villella came on in relief after a two-out single, and ended the inning on a line out
- Junior Jake Thibault took over in the eighth. The righty saw two Golden Eagles reach scoring position with one out, but struck out the next batter to move within one more of escaping the frame. A bloop single did him in, however, as Oral Roberts placed a soft liner right behind the pitcher’s mound for an infield single that score the go-ahead run
- In the top of the ninth, Porricelli drew a one-out walk and reached second with two down, but did not score in an attempt to tie the game
Top Performers // Notes
- WP: Weber (1-0) | LP: Thibault (0-1)
- Kalantzakos’ Final Line (ND): 6.2 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 4 K
- Merrimack scattered seven hits, all of which were singles. Haba debuted well, hitting three singles from the No. 9 spot in the order. Haba was the only freshman to play on Friday, starting at second base
- Graduate student Billy Keegan recorded the team-‘s first-ever Division I base knock, connecting on a second-inning single
- With the effort, Kalantzakos increased his quality-start streak to 12 straight outings
- Porricelli reached base three times from the leadoff spot, drawing two walks to go along with a base hit
Gallery: (2/14/2020) BSB vs. Oral Roberts (021420)
Merrimack plays a doubleheader against Oral Roberts tomorrow afternoon beginning at 1 p.m. Graduate students Riley Sorenson and Dan Amidon are expected to take the hill for the Warriors.