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Merrimack’s Pitching Strong in Sweep of Saint Rose

DANVERS, MASS. – Behind a complete-game effort from freshman Vin Zappulla in game one and an 8.1-inning performance from redshirt-junior Garrett Hudson in the second tilt, the Merrimack College baseball program swept a Northeast-10 Conference doubleheader from the College of Saint Rose, 7-1 and 4-2, on Saturday afternoon from Saint John’s Preparatory School.

The Basics
Score (G1): Merrimack 7, 
Saint Rose 1
Score (G2): Merrimack 4, Saint Rose 2
Records: Merrimack (11-12, 4-6 NE10) | Saint Rose (9-12 2-4 NE10)
Location: Saint John’s Prep | Danvers, Mass.

Rapid Recap (Game 1):

  • Merrimack loaded the bases in the bottom of the first. Sophomore Thomas Joyce knocked in one run with a sacrifice fly, and senior Mike Hoalcraft followed with a line-drive single to make it 2-0 through one frame
  • The Warriors then scored three more in the second. Two errors by Saint Rose put runners on the corners for graduate student Tyler Lyne, who reached on a fielder’s choice to knock in the lead runner. Senior Matt Nicholson then drove in the final two on a single through the left side, making it a 5-1 game
  • Zappulla settled into a groove, seeing no more than four batters in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings. The rookie had five strikeouts through seven frames
  • The Staten Island, N.Y. native completed the nine-inning effort with a perfect final inning, which included his career-high eighth strikeout

Rapid Recap (Game 2):

  • Hudson took the ball in his first start of the season, working a nine-pitch first inning. Nicholson continued to swing a hot bat, hitting a leadoff triple in the bottom of the second and scoring on a ground out by Joyce to put the Warriors ahead, 1-0
  • Each team scored once in the third and fourth innings to keep Merrimack’s advantage at one, 2-1. In the bottom of the sixth, the Navy and Gold picked up what proved to be the game-winning runs. Facing a 2-0 count with junior Matthew Ronai on second and Nicholson on first, Joyce walloped a double to straightaway center field, scoring both Warriors
  • Hudson used the double-play ball to his advantage, inducing five on the afternoon. The final occurrence came in the eighth inning, the Greenfield, Mass. native’s final full frame of work. Joyce started the twin-killer, throwing to sophomore Nick Shumski at short and returning to the first-base bag to complete the play
  • After allowing two doubles that resulted in the Golden Knights’ second run, sophomore Stephen Fleury relieved Hudson out of the bullpen. The righty recorded his second save by retiring two straight batters, completing the sweep of Saint Rose

Notes and Notables (Game 1):

  • WP – Zappulla (4-2) | LP – Budlong (2-2)
  • Zappulla’s Final Line (CG): 9.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K
  • Zappulla bounced back to put forth his best start of the season, recording the Warriors’ first complete game of the season. It marked the first complete effort for a Merrimack rookie since senior PJ Browne threw one in 2015
  • Merrimack recorded a season-high eight steals, tied for the most in a game for the Warriors since April of 2014
  • Lyne led the offense, tying his career high with four hits on the day. The center fielder scored two runs and knocking in two more. With 162 career hits, Lyne is now 11th all-time at Merrimack

Notes and Notables (Game 2)

  • WP – Hudson (1-0) | LP – Shaw (0-3) | S – Fleury (2)
  • Hudson’s Final Line: 8.1 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
  • Pitching out of the bullpen in his previous six appearances, Hudson’s first start proved to be hist best effort of the season. The right-hander threw the longest outing of his career, falling within two outs of his first career game
  • Ronai and Nicholson each posted two-hit days to tie for the team lead, while Joyce drove in three of Merrimack’s four runs
  • Nicholson went 5-for-9 on the day overall, scoring two runs and driving in a pair. The senior outfielder has three multi-hit efforts in as many games this week

Up Next
The Warriors return to Danvers tomorrow afternoon to host Le Moyne College at 12 p.m.

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