PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – The Merrimack College baseball team went on the road to open Northeast-10 Conference play on Saturday afternoon and defeated Pace University in a pair of games, 5-2 and 8-7, to pick up a pair of league wins from Finnerty Field in Pleasantville, N.Y. Sophomore starters Vin Zappulla and Timmy Kalantzakos recorded victories while senior closer Riley Sorenson notched the save in both contests. Junior Joey Porricelli totaled six hits over 11 at-bats on the day to lead Merrimack’s offense.
Score (G1): Merrimack 5, Pace 2
Score (G2): Merrimack 8, Pace 7
Records: Merrimack (8-8) | Pace (10-6)
Location: Finnerty Field | Pleasantville, N.Y.
Rapid Recap (Game 1):
- Facing Pace’s ace Dan Wirchansky to start the day, the Warriors’ bats scored off the start left-handed hurler immediately. Porricelli hit a leadoff single, stole second, reached third on a groundout and touched home on a two-run single by junior Thomas Joyce to give Merrimack a 1-0 edge
- Pace answered off Zappulla in the bottom half, utilizing a two-out ground-rule double and single to score a pair of runs to take a 2-1 lead
- Porricelli generating the game-tying run in the top of the third, starting the top of the third with a double. After reaching third, the third-year Warrior scored on a successful first-and-third play that made it a 2-2 contest
- Zappulla put up scoreless innings throughout the rest of his outing, working out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of third before facing four or fewer batters from the fourth inning on. The Warriors scored twice in the top of the sixth, with freshman Michael Golankiewicz driving in a pair with a double to put the visitors in front, 4-2
- Junior Dylan Stevens threw a scoreless eight, and Porricelli drove in an insurance marker with a triple in the top of the ninth to bring on the final half inning. Sorenson worked around a leadoff double followed by a walk to sit down the next three Setters to close the contest
Rapid Recap (Game 2):
- Kalantzakos put up zeros through the first five innings of the second game, enabling Merrimack to take control of the contest. Porricelli started the game with a single, went first-to-third on a base hit by sophomore Nick Shumski and scored on a grounder by senior Matthew Ronai to make it a 1-0 contest
- Merrimack’s third baseman created a single run in the third, doubling to start the inning before stealing third and plating on an error to make it a 2-0 game. Sophomore Thomas Crowley came through with two outs in the fourth, smacking a two-run double to give Merrimack its third and fourth runs
- Kalantzakos limited damage in the bottom of the sixth after the Setters scored twice to start the frame. A double play created a runner-on-third with two outs situation, which the Andover, Mass. stranded with a ground out to Porricelli at third
- Each team scored a run apiece in the seventh to make it a 5-3 game entering the top of the eight. The eighth inning saw three of Merrimack’s first four batters reach to load the bases for Shumski. The shortstop proceeded to clear the bases with a double into the right-center gap that increased the Warriors’ lead to 8-3
- The bottom of the ninth arrived with the same score, but Pace began to rally. A single, sacrifice fly and two-run homer allowed the Setters to pull within one, 8-7. Sorenson inherited a situation that featured runners on the corners with two outs, but the senior captain struck out the final batter of the game to claim the victory for Merrimack
Notes and Notables (Game 1):
- WP – Zappulla (2-1) | LP – Wirchansky (1-1) | S: Sorenson (2)
- Zappulla’s Final Line (W): 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K
- Porricelli notched two of Merrimack’s four extra-base hits on the day, totaling three base knocks from the leadoff spot and scoring two of Merrimack’s five runs.
- Merrimack was aggressive on the base paths, swiping six bags on the day credited to five different base stealers. Joyce led the team with a pair of steals
- Zappulla equaled his season high with a seven-inning outing, tossing a quality start for his third outing out of his last four
- Joyce reached base in all four of his plate appearances, totaling a pair of hits with two walks
Notes and Notables (Game 2)
- WP – Kalantzakos (2-1) | LP – Russo (1-1) | S: Sorenson (3)
- Kalantzakos’ Final Line (W): 6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K
- Porricelli’s strong day continued, leading Merrimack with a three-hit effort and scoring four of the team’s eight runs. The Monroe, Conn. native tied his career high with the four runs
- Shumski established a new career high with four RBI, aided by the three-run double
- Shumski, freshman Kurtis Stadnicki and senior Anthony Garbarino all added two-hit efforts; the team notched its sixth game of at least 10 hits this season. In those contests, the Warriors are 5-1
- Kalantzakos threw his fourth straight quality start, leading the staff in that department
- Porricelli moved into the team lead in average (.324) and OPS (.966) after a day that saw him total six hits, score six runs, register four extra-base hits and steal three bases
The Warriors next conference doubleheader is tomorrow afternoon when Merrimack visits Long Island to face Adelphi University for a twinbill beginning at 12 p.m. at Bonomo Memorial Field in Garden City, N.Y.