NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. – The Merrimack College baseball program won its first game of the 2019 season on Sunday, upsetting No. 9 Southern New Hampshire in walk-off fashion, 5-4, in the 13th inning of the opening game of the Warriors’ non-conference doubleheader against the Penmen. SNHU responded by winning the second tilt, 8-4, from the New England Baseball Complex in Northborough, Mass.
The Warriors led game one, 3-1, entering the ninth inning, but the Penmen scored three times in the top half to take a one-run lead. Senior Matthew Ronai extended the game with a run-scoring single, and then in the bottom of the 13th, sophomore Thomas Crowley ended the game with a walk-off double, scoring junior Nick Shumski. Senior Riley Sorensen tossed 4.1 innings of hitless relief to earn the win.
Score (G1): Merrimack 5, #9 SNHU 4
Score (G2): #9 SNHU 8, Merrimack 4
Records: Merrimack (1-5) | #9 SNHU (8-3)
Location: New England Baseball Complex | Northborough, Mass.
Rapid Recap (Game 1):
- Sophomore Timmy Kalantzakos made his second start of the season, scattering just five hits over 6.1 innings of work, relenting just one run. Kalantzakos notched one strikeout and kept the ball in the infield, recording 11 ground-ball outs
- Merrimack scored its first run in the bottom of the third. Shumski hit a double with the bases loaded, driving in senior Anthony Garbarino to even the score at one-all
- In the bottom of the fifth, the Warriors took their first lead. Shumski drove in sophomore Michael Jamele with a single, and came around to touch home on a run-scoring double by junior Thomas Joyce.
- Sophomore Jake Thibault took over for Kalantzakos in the seventh, and kept the score at 3-1 entering the top of the ninth before SNHU tacked on three runs. Sorenson retired the first 11 batters he faced to usher on the bottom of the 13th
- Shumski impacted the game-winning run, drawing a two-out walk. The starting shortstop raced all the home from first on the two-bagger from Crowley, giving Merrimack the victory
Rapid Recap (Game 2):
- The finale saw the bottom of the third arrive with the score knotted at 1-1. Freshman Sean Thompson ran into trouble in the bottom of the third. With the bases loaded, a walk followed by a ground out and base hit resulted in four Penmen runs. SNHU led, 5-1, through three frames
- Senior Trevor Cooley and sophomore Stephen Fleury combined to toss three scoreless innings to keep the deficit at four entering the top of the seventh. Merrimack’s bats came alive, as junior Joey Porricelli hit a three-run homer that plated senior Cory Wasylow and Jamele to bring Merrimack within one, 5-4
- The Penmen were able to score three more times in the bottom of the eighth, however, to bring their lead back to four (8-4).
Notes and Notables (Game 1):
- WP – Sorensen (1-0) | LP – Gomes (0-1)
- Kalantzakos’ Final Line (ND): 6.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K
- Shumski enjoyed arguably the best game of his career, setting a career high with four hits and tying his career best with two RBI
- Crowley entered the game as a pinch-runner and recorded his second double of the year as well as his first-ever walk-off hit
- Sorensen’s victory marked the seventh of his career. He boasts a career 7-0 record over 20 appearances
Notes and Notables (Game 2)
- WP – Tobin (2-1) | LP – Thompson (0-2)
- Thompson’s Final Line (L): 3.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
- Porricelli smacked his first homer of the year and fourth of his career. The homer resulted in his third multi-RBI effort through six games
- Ronai and Wasylow tied for the team lead with two base knocks each. The latter scored two of Merrimack’s four runs
- Cooley lowered his ERA to 2.70 over two efforts, punching out five batters in 3.1 innings of work
Merrimack will be off until next Sunday when the Warriors begin their week in Florida for spring break. The Warriors begin the week by playing Bloomfield College at 10:30 a.m. at the Santaluces Athletic Complex in Lantana, Fla.