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Baseball’s Four-Run Ninth Caps Wild One with Holy Cross

Links: Box Score

WORCESTER, Mass. – In a game that featured 23 combined runs, 20 hits and seven errors, the Merrimack College baseball program had the last laugh in a 12-11 win at the College of Holy Cross on Wednesday evening from Fitton Field. The Warriors entered the top of ninth trailing by three, 11-8, but mounted a four-run rally – scoring all four with two outs – to comeback for a one-run victory. Graduate student Nick Shumski delivered the knockout blow, a bases-clearing double that gave the Warriors the lead for good.

The contest was tied twice and saw the lead change hands four times over the nine innings. The Warriors equaled their season high in hits with 13 and scored 10 runs or more for the third time this spring. On the mound, freshman Casey Hegan earned his first career win while sophomore Justin Butera punched out the side in the bottom of the ninth for his first save of the year.

Shumski enjoyed a single-game career high with six RBI from the No. 3 spot in Merrimack’s order. He went 3-for-6 with a pair of extra-base hits. Classmate Joey Porricelli added a three-hit game of his own from the leadoff spot, scoring three times and reaching base five times overall.

The Basics

Score: Merrimack 12
, Holy Cross 11
Records: Merrimack (8-11) | Holy Cross (5-8)
Location: Worcester, Mass. | Fitton Field

Rapid Recap

  • Both team’s scored in their first at-bats. Porricelli hit a leadoff single, stole second and scored on a two-out single by freshman Bryant Skurbe to give Merrimack a 1-0 lead. The Crusaders answered with a two-out RBI double in the bottom half to tie the game, 1-1
  • Four hits, two errors and a wild pitch contributed to a three-run top of the second for the Warriors. All of the scoring came with two outs too as the first tally touched home after a RBI single for Porricelli. After the wild pitch put two runners in scoring position, a fielding error at first extended the frame and allowed senior Michael Jamele to score. Shumski followed with a single to center that scored Porricelli to make it a 4-1 contest
  • The score remained in Merrimack’s favor in the bottom of the third. Junior starter Cedric Gillette faced a two-on-and-two-out situation, but saw his 0-1 delivery hit out of the ball park to tie the game at four runs apiece
  • The runs kept scoring in the fourth. After two quick outs, Porricelli drew a walk and sophomore Alex Haba followed by being hit by a pitch to put two runners on. Shumski delivered another two-out base knock, hitting a two-run triple into right that gave the visitors a 6-4 edge. Holy Cross answered with a three-run bottom half of the fourth, however, to take its first lead at 7-6
  • Junior Michael Golankiewicz knocked in Merrimack’s seventh run on a ground out to second.  A wild pitcher then allowed graduate student Thomas Joyce to score, leaving Merrimack back in front, 8-7, through the top of the fifth
  • The score remained there in the bottom of the sixth. Holy Cross chased freshman reliever Tiernan Lynch with three runs in the frame, retaking the lead at 10-8. Two errors in the inning helped the hosts turn the score back in their favor
  • Holy Cross added one run in the bottom of the seventh, but Hegan settled in to throw three innings of relief, striking out three Crusaders and keeping Merrimack within three
  • The top of the ninth saw sophomore Jake Macchi hit a single, Golankiewicz reach via a hit by pitch and sophomore Braydon Dolbashian add a single of his own to load the bases with one out. The bases remained chucked with two down when extended the frame with a single through the left side, bringing Merrimack within two. Shumski followed by clearing them all, lining a double into the left-center gap that plated three Warriors
  • Butera entered the game in the bottom half, posting his best performance the year. He retired the side with three swinging strikeouts to end the game

Top Performers // Notes

  • WP: Hegan (1-0) | LP: Bryant (1-1) | S: Butera (1)
  • Shumski recorded the first six-RBI game for a Warriors since Tyler Lyne did so in 2016 against Bentley. It was also the second most RBI by a NEC player in a game this spring
  • With three more hits, Porricelli sits on 225 for his career. He needs seven more to set a new all-time hits record for the program
  • Porricelli also increased his hitting streak to eight games, and posted his team-leading sixth multi-hit game of the year
  • Hegan’s first career win featured three innings of one-run relief with a career-high three strikeouts
  • Butera’s save was the third of his career

Up Next:
Merrimack visits Central Connecticut State for a three-game series this weekend, beginning with the opening game on Friday at 3 p.m. in New Britain, Conn.

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