HOOKSETT, N.H. – The Merrimack College baseball program saw its regular season come to a close on Saturday at the SNHU Baseball Field as the Warriors dropped a pair of contests in a doubleheader against No. 15 Southern New Hampshire. The Warriors finished in third place in the Northeast Division with a 14-7 record, winning 25 games overall and 18 in Northeast-10 Conference play.
Merrimack begins the postseason and its Northeast-10 Conference title defense on Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m. when the Warriors face the second-seeded Bentley University Falcons out of the Northeast Division at DeFelice Field. The victor advances to the double-elimination portion of the conference tournament, which will be hosted beginning Thursday next week at the highest remaining seed from the Southwest Division.
Score (G1): #15 SNHU 6, Merrimack 2
Score (G2): #15 SNHU 3, Merrimack 0
Records: Merrimack (25-18, 14-7 NE Div.) | #15 SNHU (36-11, 17-4 NE Div.)
Location: SNHU Baseball Field | Hooksett, N.H.
Rapid Recap (Game 1):
- Junior Joey Porricelli generated the Warriors’ first run of the game. He hit a leadoff double, advanced to third and then raced home on a wild pitch with two outs that made it 1-0 in favor of Merrimack. SNHU responded with a run in bottom half, however, to tie the game up
- The top of the order combined for Merrimack’s second run, as well. Porricelli hit a one-run single, and then scored all the way from first as freshman Michael Golankiewicz roped a double into the right-center gap. The visitors placed runners on the corners, as well, but an inning-ending double play limited the damage
- The Penmen scored twice off senior Riley Sorenson in the fourth and chased Merrimack’s starter in the fifth. The hosts totaled three straight hits in the fifth, hitting a pair of doubles, that put two in scoring position with no one out for freshman reliever Cedric Gillette. The rookie impressed, preventing the Penmen to score via a groundout to second and two straight strikeouts to keep the game at 4-2
- Gillette threw scoreless innings of relief in the sixth and seventh, but ran into trouble in the eighth. Sophomore Jake Thibault came in from the bullpen after the first three Penmen reached and one run scored. The Methuen, Mass. native allowed on of the two runners he inherited to score, making it a 6-2 contest
- Merrimack went quietly in the ninth inning, with the contest ending on a double play converted by SNHU’s third baseman
Rapid Recap (Game 2):
- Sophomore Timmy Kalantzakos took the ball in Saturday’s nightcap, and contained SNHU to two runs – one each in the first and second innings – to keep Merrimack within striking distance. The Penmen owned a 2-0 lead through three innings
- Merrimack mustered singles in the third and fourth innings, but did not see a runner advance to pass first base. Kalantzakos traded zeros with SNHU’s starter as the game remained at a 2-0 margin through six innings
- SNHU scored once off graduate student Garrett Hudson in the seventh to take a 3-0 advantage. The Warriors’ last baserunner came in the eighth inning, but the team’s rally ended there. Senior Trevor Cooley escaped a bases-loaded jam in the eighth inning, but Merrimack went quietly in the top of the ninth to end the game
Notes and Notables (Game 1):
- WP – Morales (6-2) | LP: Sorenson (3-4)
- Sorenson’s Final Line (L): 4.0 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
- Porricelli and sophomore Thomas Crowley combined for five of Merrimack’s seven hits. Porricelli enjoyed a three-hit day, his team-leading seventh of the year
- The third baseman also swiped his 32nd base of the season, increasing his conference lead
Notes and Notables (Game 2)
- WP – Murphy (4-2) | LP – Kalantzakos (6-2) | S: Praml (9)
- Kalantzakos’ Final Line (ND): 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 E, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K
- Kalantzakos increased his team lead in quality starts to 10, which have all come in consecutive starts
- Golankiewicz increased his hitting streak to 11 games, tying the longest on the team this season
Merrimack will look to defend its 2018 NE10 Championship next week when the Warriors visit Bentley University for a 2 p.m. contest in the opening round of the conference tournament. Merrimack won the season series with the Falcons, sweeping all three divisional games.