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Merrimack Wins 2018 Northeast 10 Baseball Championship

Merrimack stunned No. 8 New Haven twice on Saturday to capture its first NE10 Title since 1996 …

photo: Merrimack Athletics

MANCHESTER, N.H.  – In a 2018 campaign that featured every game played away from campus and its home games at various fields throughout the region, the Merrimack College baseball program enjoyed a storybook ending to its conference season on Saturday as the Warriors defeated the No. 8 and top-seeded University of New Haven not once but twice to claim the program’s first Northeast-10 Conference Championship in 22 years. Celebrating the fourth tournament crown in school history on the SNHU Baseball Fields, the Warriors also earned the conference’s automatic bid to the 2018 NCAA Tournament and will now await their seed in next week’s East Regional that will begin on Thursday.

Links: Box Score (Game 1) | Box Score (Game 2)
Video: Final Out & Celebration | Smith, Lyne & Lupi Reaction

The Basics
Score: Merrimack 3
, #8 New Haven 2
Score: Merrimack 10, #8 New Haven 8
Records: Merrimack (31-19) | #8 New Haven (37-10)
Location: SNHU Baseball Field | Manchester, N.H.

Championship Weekend (double elimination)
Thursday, May 10
Game 5: (1SW) Le Moyne vs. (3NE) Merrimack – 12 p.m.  
Game 6: (2SW) New Haven vs. (1NE) Southern New Hampshire – 3 p.m.
Friday, May 11
Game 7: (1NE) Southern New Hampshire def. (1SW) Le Moyne – 8-5
Game 8: (2SW) New Haven def. (3NE) Merrimack – 9-0 
Game 9: (3NE) Merrimack def. (1NE) Southern New Hampshire – 9-2
Saturday, May 12
Game 10: (3NE) Merrimack def. (2SW) New Haven – 3-2
Game 11: (3NE) Merrimack def. (2SW) New Haven – 10-8

Rapid Recap (Game 1)

  • Senior starter PJ Browne took the ball on three days rest and stranded a pair of Chargers in the first and second frames to keep the game scoreless. Merrimack loaded the bases in the top of the third with two outs, but a strikeout ended the frame without any runs crossing the plate
  • The Chargers scored first, hitting a solo shot out of SNHU Baseball Field to make it a 1-0 game. A two-out throwing error extended the fifth inning for the Chargers, and a single advanced the runner to third. With two strikes, a ball in the dirt allowed the second run of the game to score
  • Merrimack’s offense pulled through in the top of the sixth. With one out, senior Ricky Smith singled and junior Anthony Garbarino doubled to put runners in scoring position. Sophomore Nick Shumski plated one with a sacrifice fly, and classmate Joey Porricelli lined a two-out single to left field to even the score at two apiece through 5.5 innings
  • Porricelli gave Merrimack the lead in the eighth. The third baseman smoked a home run to left field, his third of the season, to open a 3-2 advantage. It marked just the second homer and sixth earned run given up by New Haven reliever Kellen Croce this season
  • Browne took over from there. Facing the meat of the Chargers’ order in the eighth, Browne sent them down in order and then the lefty did the same in the ninth – ending his outing on his career-high 144th pitch

Rapid Recap (Game 2)

  • Junior Riley Sorenson took the ball for the Warriors in his first start of the season and first in the last two years. He put up zeros in the first two innings, bringing Merrimack to the sticks in the top of the third
  • The Warriors put up a four-spot in the inning. Facing New Haven’s ace and NE10 Co-Pitcher of the Year David Palmer, junior Matthew Ronaistruck a RBI single to start the scoring. The hit brought senior Matt Nicholson to the dish, who belted a three-run homer for his career-high setting seventh long ball of the year
  • After New Haven scored once in the bottom half, Merrimack added three more in the fourth. A RBI bunt single by Shumski started the scoring, which was followed by a sacrifice fly and a first-and-third play. The scoring chased Palmer, marking his shortest outing of the year
  • New Haven began its rally in the seventh facing an 8-3 hole. The Chargers drew four walks in the frame, who all came around to score. The first run of the inning scored on a ground ball, followed by a pair of RBI singles. Sophomore Stephen Fleury kept the damage at four runs, ushering on the eighth with a 9-7 game
  • After a leadoff double to start the eighth, senior Anthony Lupi took over to make his second straight appearance and third since Tuesday. The lefty retired three of the next four, but a single plated one run, to pull the Chargers within a score of tying the game
  • The ninth inning saw Merrimack’s bats get that run back. With runners on second and third with two outs, the Chargers opted to intentionally walk Porricelli to bring Lyne up who entered the at-bat 14 hits over 21 at-bats in the tournament. Lyne went down 0-2, worked the count to 2-2, and chopped a single through the left side that scored junior Cory Wasylow
  • In the bottom half, Lupi only needed 12 pitches to record his second save of the tournament. The championship-winning moment came on a ground ball to Garbarino at second, who fired to Keegan at first to end the game

Top Performers (Game 1):

  • WP: Browne (4-2) | LP: Croce (5-1)
  • Browne’s Final Line (L): 9.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 13 K, 1 BB
  • Browne’s nine innings set a season best, as did his 13 punch outs. He fell one short of tying his single-game career high, but now moved within two punch outs of a new single-season career best
  • Porricelli reached base four times from the leadoff spot, posting his second four-hit game of the year
  • The third baseman knocked in two of Merrimack’s three runs, while Shumski had the other. Nicholson owned the only other multi-hit game

Top Performers (Game 2):

  • WP: Sorenson (2-0) | LP: Palmer (8-2) | S: Lupi (2)
  • Sorenson’s Final Line (W): 6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 K, 2 BB
  • Sorenson made his first start in over two years on Saturday, and delivered a quality outing. The righty battled through six innings, earning a quality start and the win in Saturday’s title-winning game
  • The matchup pitted the NE10’s top offense against the Co-Pitcher of the Year in David Palmer, and the offense won out. Every single member of Merrimack’s lineup recorded a hit, with the top-four hitters in the lineup going 11-for-20 with at least two knocks each, scoring five runs and knocking in six more
  • It had been over two years since Palmer allowed more than three runs in a game, and Merrimack touched him up for seven runs. The senior righty entered the game with a 0.99 ERA, and had allowed just nine earned runs all season
  • Lyne, Porricelli and Ronai all tied for the team lead with three hits each. The Warriors recorded 17 hits on the game, 14 of which were singles
  • Nicholson provided the power, setting a new career high with his seven the homer of the season. He hit the 20th of his career, becoming the first Warriors in 15 years with 20 long balls

Notes and Notables:

  • Merrimack’s NE10 Championship is the program’s first tournament title since 1996. The 2018 edition of the Warriors join the 1990, 1995 and 1996 baseball programs with tourney crowns
  • The program embarks on its first NCAA Tournament since 1999, ending a 19-year drought. Merrimack will learn its seed during tomorrow night’s NCAA Selection Show, which occurs at 10 p.m. on Sunday evening
  • Combining regular season championships, the Warriors now own nine titles – the second most among current NE10 institutions
  • The program set a single-season wins record with the victory, collecting its 31st of the year. The Warriors own just the second 30-win campaign in school annals
  • Browne’s victory marked the 18th of his career – setting a new program record for wins. He tossed the first complete game of his season and fourth of his career, bringing his career inning total to 248.1, which sits three shy of the school record
  • Head coach Nick Barese posted his 99th and 100th career wins on Saturday, reaching the milestone over four years at the helm of the Warriors
  • Both Porricelli and Nicholson joined Lyne with 70-hit seasons. Entering the day, the Warriors had just three such occurrences in school annals with the last coming in 1996
  • Lyne was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament, while Porricelli and Browne joined him as all-tournament team selections. Lyne became the first player in school history with an 80-hit season on Saturday, finishing with 81 base knocks. In the tournament, Lyne went 15-for-22 with an 1.747 OPS
  • The Warriors are now 5-3 this season against nationally ranked programs and 3-2 against New Haven

Up Next
The Navy and Gold will learn tomorrow night at 10 p.m. to learn the program’s seed and destination for the 2018 NCAA East Regional. The NCAA Selection Show can be watched on

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