Franklin Pierce shuts out Warriors in NE10 Title game; Merrimack awaits NCAA fate

photo: Merrimack Athletics

SYRACUSE, N.Y.  – The third-seeded Merrimack College baseball program dropped a pair of contests on Saturday afternoon, 8-5 and 3-0, against fourth-seeded Franklin Pierce University at Onondaga Community College, finishing the Northeast-10 Conference Championship as the runner-up in the conference tournament. The Warriors finished the week with three wins over five games in tournament play, posting an overall record of 28-20 through 48 games.

Merrimack will now await its potential selection for an at-large bid to the 2019 NCAA Division II Baseball Championship. The eight-team NCAA East Regional will be announced tomorrow evening at 10 p.m. on The Warriors were ranked eighth in the final regular season regional poll as conducted by the NCAA Regional Advisory Committee. The top-eight programs in tomorrow’s poll – three automatic qualifiers and five at-large selections – will play in the regional next week.

The first game on Saturday saw Merrimack take a 4-1 lead through three innings, but Franklin Pierce scored five times in the fifth to snatch the lead back. The Warriors crept within one, 6-5, but could not pull any closer. The result in the opener forced a winner-take-all second game. Senior Cam Monaglethrew on three days rest, allowing three runs over a nine-inning outing. Merrimack’s bats were quieted, however, scattering nine hits without scoring a run. Monagle was named to the NE10 All-Tournament Team after the game, as was junior Joey Porricelli.

The Basics
Score (G1): 
Franklin Pierce 8, Merrimack 5
Score (G2): 
Franklin Pierce 3, Merrimack 0
Records: Merrimack (28-20)
 | Franklin Pierce (28-22)
Location: Onondaga Community College | Syracuse, N.Y.    

2019 NE10 Championship Schedule
Tuesday, May 7th – First Round (single elimination)
Game 1:  #4 SW Southern Connecticut def. #1 SW Adelphi, 9-6
Game 2:  #3 SW Le Moyne def. #2 SW Pace, 2-1
Game 3:  #4 NE Franklin Pierce def. #1 NE SNHU, 3-2
Game 4:  #3 NE Merrimack def. #2 NE Bentley, 6-5

Thursday, May 9th – Championship Weekend (double elimination)
All Games to be played at Onondaga Community College’s Baseball Complex  

Game 5:  #3 NE Merrimack def. #4 SW Southern Connecticut, 8-1
Game 6:  #3 SW Le Moyne def. #4 NE Franklin Pierce, 16-2
Game 7:  #4 SW Southern Connecticut vs. #4 NE Franklin Pierce, 9-5

Friday, May 10th
All Games to be played at Onondaga Community College’s Baseball Complex  

Game 8:  #3 NE Merrimack def. #3 SW Le Moyne, 5-2
Game 9:  . #4 NE Franklin Pierce def. #3 SW Le Moyne, 12-1

Saturday, May 11th
All Games to be played at Onondaga Community College’s Baseball Complex  

Game 10:  #4 NE Franklin Pierce def. #3 NE Merrimack, 8-5
Game 11:  #4 NE Franklin Pierce def. #3 NE Merrimack, 3-0

Rapid Recap (G1)

  • Franklin Pierce mounted a two-out rally to score the game’s first run in the first. A two-out walk followed by a single in the gap put runners on the corners, then a chopper to third bounced off the base to allow the runner to cross home. The Ravens appeared to score once more in second, by after an apparent sacrifice fly to right, the Warriors appealed at third base and the runner was deemed to have left early, keeping the score at 1-0
  • Merrimack had its best offensive inning in the fourth. With one out, three straight batters reached to load the bases and junior Thomas Joycepromptly deposited a single into center field to move Merrimack ahead, 2-1. With two outs and runners on first and second, freshman Michael Golankiewicz hit a run-scoring single and sophomore Thomas Crowley reached on an error that scored a run, leaving the Warriors with a 4-1 edge through three frames
  • Franklin Pierce enjoyed a five-run fifth inning that changed the game. Four straight singles resulted in a pair of runs, while a two-out double knotted the game at 4-4. That hit ended the day for senior Riley Sorenson, with sophomore Jake Thibault taking over. The Endicott College transfer threw a wild pitch and then allowed a single, enabling the Ravens to take a 6-4 lead
  • In the bottom of the seventh, Merrimack got one run back. Three straight baserunners reached as junior Nick Shumski drew a walk while Joyce and senior Matthew Ronai hit two straight singles to make it a 6-5 tilt. Later in the inning, Merrimack has two runners in scoring position with two outs, but freshman Kurtis Stadnicki hit a line drive that was right at the first baseman to end the inning
  • Two insurance runs crossed the plate for the Ravens in the eight to bring the contest to its 8-5 final

Rapid Recap (G2)

  • Franklin Pierce jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first. The Ravens started the game with consecutive hits and a sacrifice bunt gave them two in scoring position. A single plated one run while a sacrifice fly into right-center field plated the second, making it a 2-0 contest
  • Monagle did not allow a Raven to get past second base from the second through sixth innings, keeping the deficit at two. Merrimack posted two straight two-out singles in the third, but left both runners on. That registered as the team’s best chance of the game to that point, with the Warriors still down two entering the bottom of the sixth
  • The home team used three straight singles to start that inning to load the bases with nobody out. The Ravens were able to escape the situation, however, as a come-backer to the mound eliminated the lead runner followed by consecutive strikeouts ended the inning without a Warriors run
  • The seventh inning saw another chance develop. Singles by senior Anthony Garbarino and Shumski gave the team a pair of baserunners. With two outs, Joyce rallied from an 0-2 count to draw a six-pitch walk, bringing up Ronai. The senior captain drove a ball to the warning track in left-center field, but it was caught to end the inning
  • With the score at 3-0, Garbarino hit a leadoff single to start ninth inning. Merrimack’s rally halted there, however, as the Warriors’ next three hitters were all retired to end the game

Top Performers // Notes (G1)

  • WP: Hannon (2-2) | LP: Sorenson (3-5) | S: Hart (2)
  • Sorenson’s Final Line (L): 4.2 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 2 K 
  • Merrimack’s recorded at least 10 hits for the 22nd time this season, falling to 18-4 in those games
  • Shumski, Joyce and Golankiewicz each had multi-hit efforts, tying for the team lead with two hits each. Joyce added his 12th multi-RBI game of the year, ranking second on the team in that category
  • Merrimack totaled three steals on the day. Porricelli swiped his NE10-leading 33rd bag of the season, moving within two of 70 for his career

Top Performers // Notes (G2)

  • WP: Covelle (7-5) | LP: Monagle (7-1) | S: Hart (3)
  • Monagle’s Final Line (L): 9.0 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
  • Monagle moved into the team lead in innings pitched (83.2) after his team-best third complete game of the season. He now has thrown the fourth most innings in a single year in school history
  • Shumski and Garbarino tied for the team lead with three hits apiece. Shumski’s effort moved him into a tie for first on the team in multi-hit games (20)

Up Next:
The NCAA Selection Show will air beginning at 10 p.m. tomorrow evening right on If the Warriors earn a berth, it will be the program’s fifth selection ever and first-ever consecutive appearances.

About the Author

Mike McMahon
Mike McMahon is in his 13th year covering Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune and is the founder and managing editor of The Mack Report. Mike also serves on staff as a senior writer at College Hockey News. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN

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