ANDOVER, Mass. – In what proved to be a banner day for graduate student Joey Porricelli, the fifth-year third baseman for the Merrimack College baseball program hit a walk-off single in game two of Sunday’s doubleheader against Wagner College to give the Warriors a 3-2 win over the Seahawks and complete a three-game sweep over their Northeast Conference foes. The conference rivals played a doubleheader on Sunday, with Merrimack claiming a 2-1 win in the opener before the last-second triumph in the nightcap.
In his at-bat prior to the walk-off base knock, Porricelli hit a single for the 232nd hit of his five-year career to set a new all-time hits record for the program. The seventh-inning single up the middle broke a 12-year record set by Jeff Bercume ’09, who finished his career with 231 hits. Porricelli’s next at-bat occurred with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, when he hit a single off the left field wall that plated two runs to give Merrimack a come-from-behind win.
The heroics in game two followed more late-inning drama in the first game. Trailing 1-0 entering the bottom of the eighth, the Warriors scored twice in the inning to win the game. Porricelli came around to score from second on a single from sophomore Alex Haba, who then scored the game-winning run on a two-out single by junior Kurtis Stadnicki.
On the mound, graduate student Riley Sorenson and senior Jake Thibault combined to throw all nine innings of one-run ball in the opener. Then, th triumvirate of junior Wyatt Villella, graduate student Daniel Amidon and freshman Casey Hegan collectively held Wagner to two runs in the second game.
Our new hits king 👑
Porzo's all alone on top, setting a new career hits record for our program! His 232nd hit set the mark & his 233rd walked us off to sweep Wagner 🧹April 18, 2021
Score (G1): Merrimack 2, Wagner 1
Score (G2): Merrimack 3, Wagner 2
Records: Merrimack (12-14, 8-7 NEC) | Wagner (6-14, 4-11 NEC)
Location: Andover, Mass.
Rapid Recap (Game 1):
- Wagner started the opener off with a leadoff homer, grabbing a 1-0 lead. Sorenson settled into his outing though, striking out five Seahawks over the first three innings
- Merrimack’s bats put runners in scoring position in the second and fourth innings, but were unable to score. The Warriors nearly manufactured a run in the fifth with Haba reaching third with two outs, but they were unable to get the second baseman home
- In the top of the sixth, Wagner had runners in scoring position with one out. Porricelli gunned the lead runner out at home for the second out of the inning, and then Sorenson closed his outing with a fly out to left to keep the score at 1-0
- Thibault retired seven of the first eight hitters he faced to keep the deficit at one. Porricelli drew a leadoff walk in the eighth, and stole second with Haba in the box. The second-year infielder lined a single into left that plated Porricelli to tie the game. Haba reached second on a sacrifice bunt, and stole third with two outs to move 90 feet from scoring. Stadnicki drove a 1-0 pitch to the opposite field to score Haba, giving Merrimack all the runs they needed
- Thibault shut the door in the ninth, inducing three ground ball outs to end the game
Rapid Recap (Game 2):
- Neither team scored over the first four innings of game two as Villella enjoyed a strong start to his outing. The third-year righty ran into trouble in the fifth, however, as the first three batters reached for Wagner to load the bases. The Hollywood, Fla. native rolled up a double-play ball that scored one run, but gave Merrimack a pair of outs. The Seahawks were able to add a two-out RBI single though to take a 2-0 lead before the inning ended
- Freshman Bryant Skurbe hit a homer in the bottom of the sixth to cut Merrimack’s deficit in half. Amidon entered in the top of the sixth and threw two scoreless frame to prevent Wagner from expanding its lead. The lefty benefited from strong defense in the seventh as the Warriors picked off two Seahawks baserunners, one of which came from the right-handed arm of sophomore catcher Jake Macchi
- The score remained at 2-1 going to the bottom of the ninth after Hegan threw two scoreless innings. Merrimack loaded the bases via a walk and two singles to create the ninth-inning threat. After one out, Porricelli hit the sixth pitch of his at-bat out into left field that scored senior Thomas Crowley and junior Michael Golankiewicz to give the Warriors the win
Notes and Notables (Game 1):
- WP – Thibault (1-0) | LP – Wiseman (1-2)
- Skurbe went 3-for-4 in the first game to lead Merrimack’s offense
- Joyce added two hits as well, his fifth two-hit game of the year
- Haba stole two bags, his second two-steal game of the year
- Thibault’s three innings of scoreless relief marked his third outing of the bullpen this year that featured at least three frames thrown and zero runs allowed
Notes and Notables (Game 2)
- WP – Hegan (2-0) | LP – Beyer (0-1)
- Porricelli continues to etch his name across multiple areas of the Merrimack record book. With Sunday’s hit record, he now is the program’s all-time leader in six categories: hits (233), games played (173), plate appearances (728), runs (173), steals (82) and total bases (347)
- He was also one of three players with two-hit games in the nightcap, joining Skurbe and Macchi. Skurbe and Porricelli are tied for the team lead with eight multi-hit games on the year
- Joyce drew two walks, bringing his career total to 87. He needs two more to set a program record of his own
Merrimack visits Northeastern for a 3 p.m. game on Wednesday afternoon.