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Baseball Loses Nail-Biter at UMass

Links: Box Score

AMHERST, Mass. – In a game that ended in a bang-bang play at home plate from Earl Lorden Field, the Merrimack College baseball team lost a 9-8 decision on Wednesday afternoon in non-conference play at UMass. Freshman Aidan Hawley attempted to score the tying run from second base on a wild pitch, but was tagged out at home to end the game.

In a back-and-forth affair, Merrimack led by three runs, 5-2, in the early going, but the host Minutemen rallied to take a 9-5 lead. The Warriors scored three times across the seventh and eighth innings to pull within one run, but were unable to score in the ninth to even things up.

Graduate student Stephen Fleury made his first career start, working through five innings while allowing four runs. His battery mate, junior Kurtis Stadnicki, led the Warriors offense with a 4-for-5 performance that featured three RBI.

The Basics

Score:
UMass 9, Merrimack 8

Records: Merrimack (9-14)
| UMass (8-17)
Location: Amherst, Mass. | Earl Lorden Field

Rapid Recap

  • A sacrifice fly in the top of the second started Merrimack’s scoring. UMass was able to touch home twice off Fleury in the bottom half, answering the Warriors’ run to take a 2-1 lead
  • The Minutemen’s edge was short-lived. The Warriors responded with four runs in the top of the third to nab a 5-2 advantage. After loading the bases with one out, Stadnicki emptied them with a three-run double to right center. The third-year catcher then scored on the next play when graduate student Thomas Joyce knocked him in with a single
  • Fleury worked around hits in the third and fourth to keep the Warriors’ lead at three. In the fifth, however, UMass saw six batters reach that resulted in a pair of runs. Fleury limited the damage to two, leaving the bases loaded by inducing a ground ball to end the frame. He ended his outing with Merrimack in front, 5-4
  • Freshman Tyghe Healy recorded two quick outs to start the sixth, but the hosts mounted a two-out rally to score five times in the inning on a two-run homer and three RBI singles. When the scoring finished, UMass’ lead rested at 9-5
  • In the top of the seventh, the Warriors loaded the bases again with only one out. Joyce hit a grounder to first that resulted in a RBI, and when the Minutemen’s shortstop committed a throwing error, graduate student Nick Shumski raced home to cut Merrimack’s deficit in half
  • The Warriors’ eighth run came in the top of the eighth when sophomore Alex Haba sprinted the 90 feet home on a wild pitch to make it a 9-8 ball game
  • In the ninth, a throwing error followed by a single gave Merrimack two baserunners with no one out. A pick-off followed for the first out, but Joyce was hit by a pitch that gave Merrimack runners on first and second once more. A strikeout left the team down to its final out, which occurred when Hawley attempted to score to tie the game

Top Performers // Notes

  • WP: Henry (2-0) | LP: Healy (1-2) | S: Wittman (1)  
  • Fleury’s first start saw he throw the longest outing of his career (5.0 innings)
  • Joyce knocked in two runs, reaching 100 RBI for his career
  • Stadnicki tied his career high with a four-hit game and established a new season high with three RBI
  • Sophomore Jack Collins and senior Jake Thibault each threw hitless innings of relief

Up Next:
Merrimack hosts Wagner College for a three-game NEC series this weekend.

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