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Baseball Stages Late Comeback; Drops Marathon Heartbreaker to LIU

Links: Box Score

BROOKVILLE, N.Y. – After it trailed by a trio entering the eighth inning, the Merrimack College baseball team fought back to tie the game, then fell by a 4-3 final in an astounding 16 innings Thursday afternoon at LIU Baseball Stadium.

After Joey Porricelli drove in Michael Golankiewicz with a single in the top of the eighth, the Warriors executed a first-and-third baserunning play that scored Michael Jamele to bring the deficit down to one. In the ninth, Merrimack was on the ropes and down to its last strike with no one on base, before a Thomas Joyce home run to right center tied the game.

Both teams had chances to win in extra frames, but the Sharks ultimately claimed the victory in the 16th on a game-ending single.

The Basics

Score:
LIU 5, Merrimack 4 (16 innings)
Records: Merrimack (18-21) | LIU (19-12)
Location: Brookville, N.Y. | LIU Baseball Stadium  

Rapid Recap

  • Porricelli got plunked to start the game, then worked his way around the bases on a pair of errors to score the game’s opening run in the top half of the first.
  • The Sharks claimed the lead and added a pair of insurance runs in the last half of the first to gain the three-run edge.
  • Reigning NEC Co-Pitcher of the Week, Vin Zappulla, settled down after a rocky start and allowed just three more hits through the fifth innings and held LIU off the board. He also ended his day with five punchouts.
  • LIU went to the bullpen in the seventh and the Warriors responded. After they went scoreless in the seventh, Porricelli was the driving force in the eighth, as they scored a pair to send the game into the ninth with a one-run margin.  
  • After a pair of strikeouts to open the top of the ninth, Joyce ran the count to 2-2, then left the yard to right center to knot the score at four.
  • After he relieved Zappulla in the sixth, Jake Thibault was the story out of the bullpen for the visitors. He shut down LIU for eight straight innings and allowed just five hits with six strikeouts and had an economical 54 pitches to keep Merrimack alive.
  • The Warrior defense shined in the final few innings, as they turned a double play in the 14th with a pair on base to silence a threat, then Daniel Amidon stroke out a batter with the bases loaded on a 3-2 count to end the 15th.
  • LIU put an end to the game in the bottom of the 16th when a single to left scored the game-winning run.

Top Performers // Notes

  • WP: Patrick Clyne (1-0) | LP: Casey Hegan (2-1)
  • Porricelli bumped his batting average to .307 with the effort, which is tops on the Warriors
  • The appearance was the longest in Thibault’s career and brought his season ERA down by more than a run to 3.58

Up Next:
The teams turnaround for a 1:00 pm start Friday afternoon at LIU Baseball Stadium in the second game of the series.  

For continuing coverage of Merrimack College Athletics, visit MerrimackAthletics.com and follow the Warriors on Twitter and on Facebook.

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