SECOND FOE DOWN
Merrimack flew back to campus from Tulsa Sunday evening, and were just four days away from hopping on a bus to Greenville, South Carolina where a neutral site series with the Michigan State Spartans awaited the team. The Spartans had the largest notoriety of any opponent on Merrimack’s inaugural Division I schedule.
Coming off a split with ORU, Merrimack certainly had generated some belief that it could play with anyone on the 2020 docket. The onslaught that occurred, however, was on another level.
The series opener saw the Warriors rally from a 6-2 deficit and eventually prevail, 9-6, in extra innings. Merrimack’s four-run eighth inning forced extras as a run-scoring single, bases-loaded walk, sacrifice fly and fielder’s choice brought the Warriors even. Merrimack’s bullpen came through with six innings of work and only two runs allowed – both of which were unearned – to keep the Warriors in the game. Shumski had the big hit with a two-run double into left field in the top of the 11th to put Merrimack in front.
Senior Nick Shumski was superb against Michigan State all weekend.
The “rallying” theme continued in the second game. Sorenson toed the rubber and tossed arguably the best game of his career, throwing eight innings of one-run ball to earn the win. He needed his offense to pull through in the ninth, however, to get the win as the Spartans led, 1-0, through eight frames. In the ninth, Porricelli hit a leadoff double to start the rally, and scored on a Stadnicki single to tie the game. A sacrifice fly off Wasylow’s bat scored the game-winning run, while junior Thomas Crowley added a double to score an insurance run. After the 3-1 win, Merrimack vaulted into the No. 1 spot in College baseball’s RPI.
Sorenson was marvelous against Michigan State, earning the win after eight innings of one-run ball
The party did not end there. The Warriors completed their first series win in their Division I era by sweeping another doubleheader. Merrimack prevailed, 7-5, against the Spartans behind another combo effort on the mound from Gillette and Butera. It was also the third of three comeback wins as a 4-4 tie was broken in the top of the sixth after Shumski hit a bases-clearing double as part of a career weekend for the fourth-year shortstop.
Merrimack won its first three games against Michigan State at Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C.
Nick Shumski was named NEC Player of the week after hitting nearly .600 in the four games against the Spartans.
Sorenson’s eight-inning effort garnered the righty NEC Pitcher of the Week honors.