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Long Ball, Zappulla’s Outing Deliver 5-3 Win for Baseball

Links: Box Score

ANDOVER, Mass. – Graduate student Nick Shumski and senior Thomas Crowley each belted two-run homers while senior Vin Zappulla threw seven strong innings on the mound to lead the Merrimack College baseball team to a 5-3 win over Wagner College on Saturday. The Northeast Conference (NEC) series opener saw Merrimack improve to 6-7 in league play while Wagner fell to 4-9.

Shumski’s homer garnered the Warriors to a 2-0 advantage in the top of the first, while Crowley’s homer occurred in the bottom of the fourth and knocked in what proved to be the game-winning run. Zappulla tossed seven quality innings on the bump, completing seven innings of work while throwing 106 pitches. Sophomore Justin Butera threw the ninth inning for his second save of the year.

Graduate student Joey Porricelli led the game off with a single, collecting the 231st hit of his career to tie Jeff Bercume ’09 for the program record for career hits. The third baseman went 1-for-4 on the day with one run scored.

The Basics

Score: Merrimack 11
, Wagner 8
Records: Merrimack (10-14, 6-7 NEC) | Wagner (6-12, 4-9 NEC)
Location: Andover, Mass.

Rapid Recap

  • After a clean top of the first inning, Shumski hit a rocket over the left field fence to stake Merrimack to a 2-0 lead. After a leadoff walk in the top of the third, Zappulla relented a two-run homer of his own to tie the game at two runs apiece
  • The bottom of the fourth began with two quick outs, but the Thomas’ powered Merrimack back into the game. Graduate student Thomas Joyce lined a single into right field to keep the inning going, bringing Crowley to the plate. The right-handed designated hitter drove a 2-0 pitch out of the ball park to give Merrimack its two-run lead back at 4-2
  • In the top of the fifth, Zappulla escaped a jam. The Seahawks had runners on second and third with one out when a grounder was hit to third. Porricelli scooped it out and gunned out the lead runner trying to score for the second out of the frame. Merrimack’s righty then ended the inning on a fly ball out to strand runners at the corners
  • Zappulla ended the sixth inning on a double play, and worked around a two-out single in the seventh to conclude his outing. In the bottom half of the seventh, Joyce and Crowley started with a double and single, respectively, to put runners on the corners. Junior Michael Golankiewicz hit a sharp grounder to second to knock in Joyce, giving Merrimack an insurance run
  • The score remained at 5-2 entering the top of the ninth. Wagner hit two singles to start the inning, and then a one-out walk loaded the bases. The second out of the inning occurred on a fly ball out to left, but one run scored on the play to make it a two-run game. Butera buckled down there, ending the game on a pop out to shortstop to lock things down

Top Performers // Notes

  • WP: Zappulla (3-2) | LP: Lauk (1-4) | S: Butera (2)  
  • Crowley’s homer was the second of his career and first since 2019
  • Shumski hit his fourth homer of the year – good for second on the team – and moved into a tie for first on the squad with 22 RBI
  • The trio of Shumski, Joyce and Crowley combined for six of Merrimack’s eight hits
  • Zappulla’s seven innings marked his longest outing of the year

Up Next:
The Warriors and Seahawks return to action tomorrow for a doubleheader beginning at 12 p.m.  

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