HAVERHILL, MASS. – The Merrimack College baseball team battled tough against the Stonehill Skyhawks, the third ranked team in the East Region according the NCBWA, but the Warriors lost both games of a doubleheader on Sunday afternoon from Trinity Stadium.
Score (G1): Merrimack 2 | Stonehill 6
Score (G2): Merrimack 3 | Stonehill 4
Records: Merrimack (9-8, 3-3 NE-10) | Stonehill (15-4-1, 3-0 NE-10)
Location: Trinity Stadium | Haverhill, Mass.
How It Happened (G1)
Merrimack handed the ball to senior Joe Carnevale (East Providence, R.I.), who entered the game making his fourth start of the season with an opportunity to begin the year 4-0. He also needed just one strikeout to break Merrimack’s program record for most career punch outs.
Carnevale achieved that feat early in the game. After the first batter of the game reached on an error, the Warriors ace struck out the second batter of the game for his 194th career K, breaking the previous record of 193 set by Ryan O’Rourke in 2010. O’Rourke is a current member of the Minnesota Twins organization.
In the bottom of the first, Merrimack started the scoring. After a hit-by-pitch, a walk and an error loaded the bases, junior Matt Brown (Belmont, Mass.) grounded out to scoreCam DiSarcina (Shirley, Mass.).
Carnevale got through seven innings allowing one run, extendinghis scoreless streak to 16 innings. He did get into some trouble as the Skyhawks strung together some hits to push across the tying run. Sophomore Matt Dinello (Southington, Conn.) relieved Carnevale, but the visitors capitalized for a six-run inning, headlined by a two-RBI double. Three runs were charged to Carnevale, while Dinello picked up the final three of the frame.
In the bottom of the eighth the Navy and Gold scored once to make it 6-2, and loaded the bases with only one out in the night, but the Warriors squandered any chance to mount a comeback with a strikeout and fly out to end the game.
How It Happened (G2)
Sophomore righty Perry Kulaga (Lincroft, N.J.) started in the second game for the Warriors, and put forth a remarkable effort for the Warriors. Stonehill was able to get to the second-year starter for three runs over the first six innings, but the Navy and Gold offense came up the bat in the bottom of the sixth and found a rhythm.
Senior captain John Pastyrnak (Bristol, Conn.) slapped a leadoff single and advance to second on an error by the Skyhawks second baseman, which allowed DiSarcina to reach first. Junior Frank Crinella (East Longmeadow, Mass.) hit an RBI double, scoring Pastyrnak, then Brown played both DiSarcina and Crinella to tie the game at 3-3.
Merrimack had a chance to take the lead in the seventh, with two runners on and only one out, but DiSarcina and Crinella were not able to get the runs home. Merrimack could have walked off with the win in the ninth after Paul Buckley (Sagamore Beach, Mass.) began the inning with a hit-by-pitch, but the Skyhawks defense ended the inning with a double play, throwing Buckley out attempting to advance on a sacrifice fly.
Kulaga went as long as he could, tossing 11 innings and throwing over 150 pitches. He finished with a career-high 12 strikouts, including getting back-to-back punch outs to end his last inning. Sophomore Nate Spielvogel (Brookline, Mass.) took over in the top of the twelfth, and the Skyhawks utilized a pinch-hit, two-out double to score the game-winning run.
Merrimack will have the week off before returning to Trinity Stadium on Saturday evening for game one of a three-game set with Saint Anselm. Originally the Hawks’ home game, Saint Anselm will serve as the hosts with Merrimack batting first in all three contests.