SNHU Tops Merrimack Baseball in Pitcher’s Duel to Open Pivotal Weekend Series

MANCHESTER, N.H  – Freshman hurler Vin Zappulla of the Merrimack College baseball program threw into the eighth inning on Friday evening, giving the host Southern New Hampshire Penmen one of his best outings of the season. The Penmen were able to outlast the Warriors’ rookie, however, scoring on a wild pitch in the eighth inning and holding on for a 2-1 victory at the SNHU Baseball Field. The contest marked the first of four straight games between the local rivals this weekend.

The Basics
SNHU 2, Merrimack 1
Records: Merrimack (21-15)
 | SNHU (27-12)
Location: SNHU Baseball Field | Manchester, N.H.

Rapid Recap

  • Zappulla retired six of the first seven Penmen he faced, but ran into trouble in the bottom of the third. A leadoff single and a sacrifice but put a runner in scoring position, who promptly scored on a RBI double. The Staten Island native buckled down, however, stranding two Penmen to keep the deficit at 1-0
  • Graduate student Tyler Lyne generated the equalizer in the top of the fourth. The centerfielder hit a leadoff double, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on another miscue by SNHU’s catcher to square the contest at 1-1
  • Zappulla quieted one of the division’s most powerful team from there, retiring 11 of the 13 batters he faced from the fourth-seventh innings. The rookie worked around a one-out double in the seventh, sitting down two straight Penmen to usher on the top of the eighth
  • In the top of the eighth, an error, hit batsman and a walk loaded the bases with one out for sophomore leadoff hitter Joey Porricelli. The third baseman faced an 0-2 count and grounded into an inning-ending double play, keeping the game tied
  • SNHU recorded consecutive base knocks to start the bottom half, marking the end of Zappulla’s night. Junior Riley Sorenson came on in relief, and the first batter he faced laid down a sacrifice bunt to put Penmen at second and third. A wild pitch to the next batter brought the go-ahead run in
  • Senior Matt Nicholson singled with two outs in the ninth to extend the game, but Merrimack’s rally ended on a groundout to second

Notes and Notables:

  • WP: Tobin (3-1) | LP: Zappulla (4-3) | S: Welch (1)
  • Zappulla’s Final Line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K
  • The seven-plus innings of work marked the second longest outing of Zappulla’s career, while the seven strikeouts were tied for the second most of his rookie tenure
  • Lyne collected two of Merrimack’s three hits on the night, and tied Porricelli for the team lead with his 13th double
  • The Agawam, Mass. native also stole his conference-leading 20th base of the season, becoming the first Warrior in five years with at least 20 stolen bases in a season
  • The contest marked two of the East Region’s ranked programs per the first release of the NCAA Division II East Region poll. The Penmen arrived in the No. 5 spot and Merrimack at No. 9, with the top-seven programs reaching the NCAA Tournament

Up Next
The Warriors and Penmen reunite tomorrow afternoon, beginning their three-game Northeast Division series with a doubleheader starting at 3 p.m. The Navy and Gold will host all three games at Holman Stadium in Nashua, N.H., with Sunday’s first pitch set for 1 p.m.

About Mike McMahon 6287 Articles
Mike McMahon is in his 13th year covering Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune and is the founder and managing editor of The Mack Report. Mike also serves on staff as a senior writer at College Hockey News. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN

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