FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MANCHESTER, N.H. – In a 2018 campaign that featured every game played away from campus and its home games at various fields throughout the region, Merrimack enjoyed a storybook ending to its conference season on Saturday as the Warriors defeated second-seeded New Haven not once but twice to claim the program's first Northeast-10 Conference Championship in 22 years. Celebrating the fourth tournament crown in school history on the SNHU Baseball Fields, the Warriors also earned the conference's automatic bid to the 2018 NCAA Tournament and will now await their seed in next week's East Regional that will begin on Thursday.
Game One: #3 NE Merrimack 3, #2 SW New Haven 2
Senior starter PJ Browne took the ball on three days rest and stranded a pair of Chargers in the first and second frames to keep the game scoreless. Merrimack loaded the bases in the top of the third with two outs, but a strikeout ended the frame without any runs crossing the plate. The Chargers scored first, as PJ Contreras hit a solo shot to make it a 1-0 game. A two-out throwing error extended the fifth inning for the Chargers, and a single advanced the runner to third. With two strikes, a ball in the dirt allowed the second run of the game to score.
Merrimack's offense pulled through in the top of the sixth. With one out, senior Ricky Smith singled and junior Anthony Garbarino doubled to put runners in scoring position. Sophomore Nick Shumski plated one with a sacrifice fly, and classmate Joey Porricelli lined a two-out single to left field to even the score at two apiece through 5.5 innings. Porricelli gave Merrimack the lead in the eighth. The third baseman smoked a home run to left field, his third of the season, to open a 3-2 advantage.
Browne took over from there. Facing the meat of the Chargers' order in the eighth, the senior sent them down in order and then the lefty did the same in the ninth – ending his outing on his career-high 144th pitch
Game One: #3 NE Merrimack 10, #2 SW New Haven 8
Junior Riley Sorenson took the ball for the Warriors in his first start of the season and first in the last two years. He put up zeros in the first two innings, bringing Merrimack to the sticks in the top of the third. The Warriors put up a four-spot in the inning. Facing New Haven's ace and NE10 Co-Pitcher of the Year David Palmer, junior Matthew Ronai struck a RBI single to start the scoring. The hit brought senior Matt Nicholson to the dish, who belted a three-run homer for his career-best seventh long ball of the year.
After New Haven scored once in the bottom half, Merrimack added three more in the fourth. A RBI bunt single by Shumski started the scoring, which was followed by a sacrifice fly and a first-and-third play. The scoring chased Palmer, marking his shortest outing of the year. New Haven began its rally in the seventh facing an 8-3 hole. The Chargers drew four walks in the frame, who all came around to score. The first run of the inning scored on a ground ball, followed by a pair of RBI singles. Sophomore Stephen Fleury kept the damage at four runs, ushering on the eighth with a 9-7 game
After a leadoff double to start the eighth, senior Anthony Lupi took over to make his second straight appearance and third since Tuesday. The lefty retired three of the next four, but a single plated one run, to pull the Chargers within a score of tying the game. The ninth inning saw Merrimack's bats get that run back. With runners on second and third with two outs, the Chargers opted to intentionally walk Porricelli to bring Lyne up who entered the at-bat 14 hits over 21 at-bats in the tournament. Lyne went down 0-2, worked the count to 2-2, and chopped a single through the left side that scored junior Cory Wasylow.
In the bottom half, Lupi only needed 12 pitches to record his second save of the tournament. The championship-winning moment came on a ground ball to Garbarino at second, who fired to Keegan at first to end the game
2018 NE10 Championship Most Valuable Player - Tyler Lyne, Merrimack
2018 NE10 All-Championship Team
Andrew Taft, Le Moyne
PJ Browne, Merrimack
Tyler Lyne, Merrimack
Joey Porricelli, Merrimack
Joe Caico, New Haven
Tom Walraven, New Haven
Caleb Potter, Southern New Hampshire
2018 NE10 Baseball Championship Schedule
Tuesday, May 8 – First Round (single elimination)
Game 1: #1 SW Le Moyne 7, #4 SW Pace 3
Game 2: #2 SW New Haven 3, #3 SW Adelphi 2
Game 3: #1 NE SNHU 3, #4 NE Bentley 2
Game 4: #3 NE Merrimack 5, #2 NE Franklin Pierce 3
NE10 Championship Weekend
Thursday, May 10
Game 5: #3 NE Merrimack 9, #1 SW Le Moyne 6
Game 6: #2 SW New Haven 5, #1 SNHU 3
Friday, May 11
Game 7: #1 NE SNHU 8, #1 SW Le Moyne 5
Game 8: #2 SW New Haven 9, #3 NE Merrimack 0
Game 9: #3 NE Merrimack 9, #1 NE SNHU 2
Saturday, May 12
Game 10: #3 NE Merrrimack 3, #2 SW New Haven 2
Game 11: #3 NE Merrimack 10, #2 SW New Haven 8
- Information for this release provided by the athletic communication staff at Merrimack
ABOUT THE NE10
The NE10 is an association of 15 diverse institutions serving student-athletes across 24 NCAA Division II sports. Together we build brilliant futures by embracing the journey of every student-athlete.
Each year, 4,500 student-athletes compete in conference championships, making the NE10 the largest DII conference in the country in terms of sport sponsorship. Leading the way in the classroom, on the field and within the community, the NE10 is proud of its comprehensive program and the experience it provides student-athletes.