Embrace The Championship: Merrimack, New Haven Advance to Winners Bracket During Thursday's Action

Embrace The Championship: Merrimack, New Haven Advance to Winners Bracket During Thursday's Action



Chargers, Warriors to Meet Friday in Winners' Bracket Game

Merrimack's offense impressed in their win over Le Moyne, while New Haven got a huge swing of the bat from senior Joe Caico to propel them to win over Southern New Hampshire. Here's how Day One of the 2018 Northeast-10 Championship Weekend played out in Manchester - 

#3 NE Merrimack 9, #1 SW Le Moyne 6

MANCHESTER, N.H. - Junior Andrew Garcia homered to center field in the fifth and senior Joe Caico followed up with a three-run long ball an inning later as New Haven (36-8) scored five unanswered runs against Southern New Hampshire (34-14) to advance to the 2018 NE10 Championship Winners bracket on Friday. The win was the 36th of the season for the Blue and Gold, matching the program record in wins in a single season.

The win was a total team effort, as five different Chargers had one hit and five different Chargers scored once. Aside from Caico and Garcia, graduate student Jack Zagaja had the other extra-base hit, a laser off the left center field wall early in the second inning. Senior Tim Kennedy improved to 8-1 on the season, tossing 6.0 innings, striking out five. Classmate Kellen Croce earned his eighth save of the season, striking out two.

SNHU posted the first two runs of the game, as third baseman Tom Blandini knocked a two-out, two-RBI double to right field. After two scoreless innings for the Chargers, Garcia led off the inning with his third home run of the season, taking a 3-2 waist-high pitch over the center field wall to cut the deficit to one run. SNHU hit two-straight singles in the bottom of the fifth, but Kennedy pitched two straight outs to leave the runners stranded.

The Chargers broke through in the top of the sixth, scoring four runs on two hits to extend the lead to three. Sophomore Matt Chamberlain walked and scored on a passed ball, sophomore Billy Huber reached on an error and Walraven bunt singled, before Caico cleared the bases with his fourth long-ball of the season, ripping a 1-0 pitch into the Charger bullpen beyond the right field wall.

SNHU added a run in the bottom of the eighth with a one-out double but sophomore Brandon LaManna shut the Penmen down with two fly outs to right field before Croce closed out the game in the bottom of the ninth with two strikeouts and a groundout. New Haven advances to the winner's bracket of NE10 Championship weekend, and will now face No. 3 NE Merrimack, tomorrow (May 11) with first pitch set for 2:00 pm at Penmen Field.

#2 SW New Haven 5, #1 NE Southern New Hampshire 3

MANCHESTER, N.H. - Four different members of Merrimack posted multi-hit efforts including a four-hit day for graduate student Tyler Lyne that pushed the fifth-year outfielder past the 200-hit milestone as the third-seeded Warriors outlasted top-seeded Le Moyne, 9-6, on Thursday to reach the winners bracket of the 2018 Northeast-10 Conference Championship. The Warriors will play New Haven tomorrow at 2 p.m. from the SNHU Baseball Field with a chance to reach the NE10 Final.

The first four hitters put forth productive at-bats to deliver a pair of runs in the top of the first. Sophomore Joey Porricelli and Lyne hit singles and stole bases to put runners in scoring position, and junior Matthew Ronai drove in the former with a sacrifice fly. Senior Matt Nicholson followed with a RBI double to the center-field wall that made it a 2-0 game

Le Moyne was able to move in front through three frames, scoring once in the first and twice in the third. The Dolphins went ahead on a two-out single, but senior Anthony Lupi stranded the bases loaded to limit to scoring after that. He also kept Le Moyne off the board in the second inning despite allowing the first two baserunners to reach. Merrimack immediately got back on top, scoring three runs in the fourth. They all came with two outs as senior Ricky Smith led off with a HBP, but remained at second after a sacrifice bunt and a strikeout. Porricelli knocked him in with a double down the left-field line, and then advanced to third on a base hit from Lyne. The latter swiped his third base of the day to put runners in scoring position, and both came home on a line-drive single off the bat of Ronai.

The back-and-forth action continued in the bottom half. Le Moyne chased Lupi, scoring twice to tie the game. Junior Daniel Amidon took over out of the bullpen, retiring two of the three batters he faced to leave the bases loaded. Entering the top of the fifth, the game sat tied at 5-5. In the top of the sixth, Lyne delivered his fourth base knock to put Merrimack back ahead, 6-5. The center fielder hit a two-out double over the head of Le Moyne's left fielder to plate Porricelli.

Amidon settled into his outing, striking out six batters over his first 2.2 innings of work. The Andover, Mass. native walked the bases loaded with one out in the sixth, but escaped the jam with a pop out and an inning-ending punch out. In the next inning, Amidon faced a runners on second and third situation with one out. Porricelli picked up his hurler with a spectacular diving putout to keep the lead runner standing on third, and Amidon followed with another K to keep the Dolphins off the board through seven frames

Courtesy of a passed ball in the eighth as well as a bases-loaded walk followed by a sacrifice fly in the ninth, the Warriors took a 9-5 advantage into the bottom of the ninth. Amidon started the ninth, relented one run before giving way to senior PJ Browne with two outs. Tuesday's starter who threw seven innings just 48 hours prior needed five pitches to force a popup to the sophomore Thomas Joyce at first and end the game

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 SW Le Moyne vs. #1 NE SNHU | 11am
Game 8:  #3 NE Merrimack vs. #2 SW New Haven | 2pm
Game 9:  Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 loser | 5pm

Saturday, May 12
Game 10:  Game 9 winner vs. Game 8 winner | 1pm
Game 11:  If necessary | 35 min following completion of Game 10

 - Information for this release provided by the athletic communication staffs at Bentley, Le Moyne, Merrimack, and New Haven 

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.