SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Playing its fourth and final game against the American International Yellow Jackets in the 2019 season, the Merrimack College baseball program dropped the Yellow Jackets, 11-5, on Thursday afternoon at Bedard Field in Springfield, Mass. to pick up its fourth win in as many tries against AIC. The non-conference triumph increased Merrimack’s winning streak to four games, as well.
Senior Matthew Ronai and sophomore Thomas Crowley each enjoyed three-hit days with a pair of RBI; for Ronai, he became just the 10th player in school history to knock in 100 career runs with his performance. Senior William Keegan hit a solo home run in the second inning, the first round-tripper of his career. Freshman Cedric Gillette made his first career start on the mound, allowing one earned run over five innings for his first career victory.
Score: Merrimack 11, AIC 5
Records: Merrimack (16-12) | AIC (11-15)
Location: Bedard Field | Springfield, Mass.
- AIC scored once off Gillette in the bottom of the first, but that deficit was quickly overcome. Keegan led off the top of the second with his long ball, tying the contest at 1-1. Following that, two straight singles from Crowley and senior Cory Wasylow moved the Warriors in front while freshman Ben Nelson knocked in Wasylow later in the frame to make it a 3-1 game
- Ronai’s 100th career RBI came in the third inning, when the Warriors’ cleanup hitter plated junior Nick Shumski with a base hit that increased Merrimack’s lead to three (4-1). Three more runs came across for Merrimack in the top of the fifth, including runs on a wild pitch, throwing error and a RBI single by Keegan that gave the visitors a 7-1 edge
- Gillette ended his outing after five frames, stranding one Yellow Jacket after an error by the Warriors allowed the hosts to plate a pair of runs. The Andover, Mass. native set a career high with his five-inning performance
- Merrimack scored once in the sixth, but the Yellow Jackets answered with a single run in the sixth and seventh innings to pull within three runs, 8-5. Three insurance markers for the Warriors in the top of the eight put the game away. Crowley drove in two runs with a single into left field, and Nelson added another RBI with a sacrifice fly to push Merrimack’s run total to 11 for a second straight game
- First-year Warriors Evan Camilleri, LT Pare, Jake Thibault and Wyatt Villella all threw one inning of relief each to account for the rest of Merrimack’s pitching Thursday
- WP: Gillette (1-0) | LP: Liebkemann (0-1)
- Gillette’s Final Line (W): 5.0 IP, 3 R, 1 ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 2 K
- Ronai – whose name appears throughout Merrimack’s record book – joined an elite group of 100-run producers. The Orange, Conn. native and Academic All-American became the 10th player ever and fourth since 2009 to join the Warriors’ 100-RBI club. He posted his ninth multi-hit game of the year, as well, moving into a tie for third on the team
- Keegan became the fifth different Warrior to hit a homer this year, and third to blast their first career long ball, joining Shumski and Wasylow
- Crowley tied his career best with three hits – set earlier this year – and posted his fourth multi-RBI output of 2019. Nelson knocked in the first two runs of his career, joining four Warriors to tie for the team lead with two RBI
- Junior Thomas Joyce had a pair of hits for his 11th multi-hit game of the season, tying classmate Joey Porricelli for the team lead
- Gillette made his first start after his previous four appearances came out of the bullpen. He nearly doubled his innings thrown total this season (11.0) after Thursday’s start
Merrimack visits Saint Anselm for a three-game series this weekend, facing the Hawks for a doubleheader on Saturday (12 p.m.) followed by a single game on Sunday (12 p.m.). All three games will be played at Sullivan Field in Manchester, N.H. on the Hawks’ campus.