NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. – Senior captains Matthew Ronai and Riley Sorenson enjoyed career performances on Monday afternoon, highlighting a 6-0 win for the Merrimack College baseball program over Saint Michael’s College at the New England Baseball Complex, which clinched the Warriors’ Northeast Division series over the Purple Knights. The former enjoyed a three-hit performance that saw Ronai become the sixth player in program history to reach 200 career hits while the latter tossed a complete-game shutout in his first start of the season.
Ronai also added a pair of RBI, and totaled base knocks in each of his final three at-bats to reach the 200-hit barrier. Freshman Michael Golankiewicz enjoyed another strong day, hitting his third homer of the season and knocking in a team-high three runs. On the mound, Sorenson made his team-leading 13th appearance, but his first start of the year. The Sandwich, Mass. native registered his first career complete game and first career shutout with the effort.
The victory gave Merrimack its fourth series victory of the year, and increased its lead in the Northeast Division to a full game over No. 4 Southern New Hampshire. The Warriors became the first Northeast program to reach double-digit divisional wins, and also improved to 9-1 over their last 10 games with the triumph.
Score: Merrimack 6, Saint Michael’s 0
Records: Merrimack (21-13, 10-2 NE Div.) | Saint Michael’s (8-21, 4-9 NE Div.)
Location: New England Baseball Complex | Northborough, Mass.
- Sorenson allowed two baserunners over the first three innings, and face one batter more than the minimum through the top of the third. The righty enjoyed his third one-two-three frame after the top of the fourth, bringing Merrimack up to bat in a 0-0 game
- The Warriors scored four of their six runs in the fourth and the fifth. The first run came across in the fourth as Ronai scampered home on Golankiewicz’s sacrifice fly after he began the frame with a single. The top of Merrimack’s order was pivotal in a three-run fifth inning with junior Thomas Joyce driving in classmate Joey Porricelli with a single, which also advanced junior Nick Shumski to third. Both baserunners immediately came home on the next at-bat when Ronai drove a two-run double off the left-field wall
- With Sorenson still dealing, Ronai’s milestone moment came in the bottom of the seventh with the Orange, Conn. native lined a two-out single to left field. The score remained in Merrimack’s favor, 4-0, in the bottom of the eight when Golankiewicz greeted a new Saint Michael’s reliever with a first-pitch homer that towered over the fence in right field, completing the day’s scoring
- Sorenson capped the performance by working around a leadoff single in the top of the ninth, sitting down the next three batters on a pair of fly outs and a strikeout to secure the win
- WP: Sorenson (3-0) | LP: McDowell (1-4)
- Sorenson’s Final Line (W): 9.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K
- Sorenson enjoyed single-game career highs in innings pitched (9.0) and strikeouts (7) after Monday’s outing. He previously had never thrown more than six innings in a game and never had more than five strikeouts in an appearance
- Ronai joined a prestigious group of just six Warriors with 200 career hits, and third Merrimack played in the last three years to pass 200. The designated-hitter-turned-outfielder increased his hitting streak to eight games, has at least one hit in 14 of his last 16 games and picked up his 12thmulti-hit game of the season
- The first four hitters in Merrimack’s order (Porricelli, Shumski, Joyce, Ronai) combined for eight of Merrimack’s 11 hits. Every player except for Porricelli in that group enjoyed a multi-hit day, while Golankiewicz posted a two-hit performance from the No. 7 spot
- Golankiewicz matched Joyce’s three homers in 2017 as the most long balls hit by a true freshman for the program since Sean Lawton hit four home runs in 2002
- Porricelli swiped two more bases on Monday to total six in the series and increase his NE10-leading total to 28 on the year. He needs two more to post the third 30-steal season in school history, and his career total rested at 63 after Monday, moving the third-year Warrior into a tie for fourth in school history in career thefts
Merrimack looks to sweep it season series with Bentley University when the Warriors visit the Falcons for a 3:30 p.m. first pitch on Wednesday at DeFelice Field in Waltham, Mass.