LYNDHURST, N.J – The Merrimack College baseball team won both of its games on Sunday afternoon against the Pace Setters from the Lyndhurst Recreation Complex to open up its Northeast-10 Conference slate with two wins. The Warriors led coast-to-coast in Game 1, while utilizing a four-run top of the ninth inning to come away victorious in Game 2.
Score (G1): Merrimack 11 | Pace 0
Score (G2): Merrimack 7 | Pace 3
Records: Merrimack (8-5, 2-0 NE-10) | Pace (4-9, 0-2 NE-10)
Location: Lyndhurst Recreation Complex | Lyndhurst, N.J.
What They Said
Head coach Nick Barese: “We were relentless today, on the mound and offensively. When guys like Joe Carnevale and Perry Kulaga give us performances like they did today, it gives us a great chance to win. Offensively, we battled, and eventually got the big hits when we needed them.”
How It Happened (G1)
Entering the game with two victories in his first two starts of the season, senior Joe Carnevale (East Providence, R.I.) got the nod from Barese to start for the Warriors. The Warriors offense staked Carnevale to a 4-0 lead through two innings. In the top of the first, Merrimack loaded the bases and scored its first run after sophomore Tyler Lyne(Agawam, Mass.) was walked. Junior Bobby Losanno (Peabody, Mass.) scored the first run for the Warriors. In the next inning, sophomore Cam DiSarcina (Shirley, Mass.)added a RBI triple and proceeded to steal home after advancing to third on a Frank Crinella (East Longmeadow, Mass.) single. Junior Sean O’Neill (Norwood, Mass.) sent Crinella home after a run-scoring single.
Carnevale took over from there. Through four innings, the junior did not allow a run and accumulated six strikeouts. In the bottom of the fourth, he faced a significant jam as the Setters loaded the bases with no outs. Carnevale proceeded to get the next batter to pop out and struck out the final two batters of the frame, both looking.
Leading 5-0 entering the top of the seventh, the Warriors offense broke the game open with a six-run inning. DiSarcina strolled to the plate with the bases chucked and scored two runners with a double to left field. That started a string of four straight run-scoring hits as Crinella, O’Neill and Matt Brown (Belmont, Mass.) all collected RBI in the inning. The Warriors returned to the dugout with an 11-0 advantage.
Carvenale’s day was finished after he tossed seven scoreless innings, allowing just three hits. He struck out eight Pace hitters, six of which went down looking. He now has notched at least seven strikeouts in all three of his starters this year and tied his season high with eight K’s. Senior Colin Smith (Somerset, Mass.) tossed two scoreless innings to account for the only relief pitcher needed for the Warriors.
Merrimack improves to 7-5 on the year, winning their first conference game of the season. The Navy and Gold have now won its NE-10 opener in each of the last three years.
How It Happened (G2)
In the second game, it took some late-inning magic to allow the Warriors to complete the sweep. Sophomore starter Perry Kulaga (Lincroft, N.J.) received the ball to make his second start of the week after going seven innings against No. 22 Southern New Hampshire on Monday.
The Setters sent seven batters to the plate in the bottom of the first inning, scoring on an RBI single to make it 1-0. Merrimack’s southpaw got out of a bases loaded, two-out jam by inducing an inning-ending popup to DiSarcina at second base. Pace tacked on two additional runs off Kulaga, who left after five innings pitched.
Some Pace miscues got the comeback effort started for the Warriors. In the top of the sixth, DiSarcina and Crinella reached base on back-to-back walks to begin the inning. Then, O’Neill chopped a grounder to first base, where Tom Midolo committed an error which allowed DiSarcina to score. A third walk in the inning loaded the bases, allowing redshirt freshman Paul Buckley (Sagamore Beach, Mass.) to come to bat and he smacked an RBI single to make it 3-2 at the end of six.
The Navy and Gold tied the game on another unearned run in the top of the seventh. Losanno began the frame with a single and was allowed to advance to third on an error. Brown drove a ball into centerfield which allowed Losanno to sprint home, scoring the tying run on a sacrifice fly.
The Warriors put the game out of reach with a four-run top of the ninth inning. Merrimack loaded the bases after Crinella reached on a hit by pitch, O’Neill singled with Merrimack’s All-American advancing first to third on the play, and Brown reaching base on a fielder’s choice. O’Neill successfully advanced to second after Pace’s second baseman muffed the throw to the bag. A bases loaded walk to senior catcher Dionys Quezada (Lawrence, Mass.) scored the game-winning run, and Lyne followed that up with a deep drive into left-center field, scoring all three runners as Lyne scurried safely into third base for the triple.
The performance of the Warriors pen should not go unnoticed. Sophomore Matt Dinello (Southingotn, Conn.) relived Kulaga and tossed three scoreless innings to collect his second win of the year. Another member of the sophomore class, Nate Spielvogel (Brookline, Mass.), struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth to preserve the win.
The Warriors begin Northeast Division play on Wednesday afternoon when Merrimack travels to Worcester, Mass. to take on Assumption College at 3:30 p.m.