Embrace The Championship: Merrimack, New Haven to Meet in NE10 Baseball Championship

Embrace The Championship: Merrimack, New Haven to Meet in NE10 Baseball Championship



Saturday's Title Tilt to Begin at Approximately 10am

New Haven and Merrimack will meet in the 2018 Northeast-10 Conference Baseball Championship, with the Chargers needing to post one win Saturday to claim their second-straight conference title. Here's how Friday's action in Manchester played out - 

#1 NE Southern New Hampshire 8, #1 SW Le Moyne 5

MANCHESTER, N.H. - Graduate student Thomas Buonopane was on base four times and drove in a pair with a huge hit in the sixth, as Southern New Hampshire University stayed alive and sent Le Moyne home with an 8-5 triumph in a Northeast-10 Championship Weekend elimination contest Friday at Penmen Field. 

The Penmen jumped on the board first with a pair of runs in the top of the third inning. After walks to sophomore Tom Blandini and Buonopane, and a fielding error by the pitcher on a sacrifice bunt attempt that loaded the bases, freshman Dakota Mulcay made it 1-0 with a sac fly to left. Senior Caleb Potter followed by driving a one-out double into the gap in right center that plated the second run and put a pair in scoring position. Le Moyne would battle back with consecutive strikeouts to limit the damage.

The Dolphins tied it against grad student Shane McDonald in the home half of the inning as a two-out walk to Brian Cox, followed by a lined shot over the fence in center from Andrew Taft, evened the score at 2-2. The Penmen scraped across a run to go in front in the fourth, as a walk to redshirt-sophomore Joshua Goldstein, single by Blandini and another walk to Buonopane loaded the bases, with redshirt-senior Ryan Sullivan working the count full before taking ball four to force in Goldstein from third and make it 3-2. 

SNHU gained some breathing room with a four-run fifth. A one-out single from freshman Sam Henrie began the trouble, with senior Kyle Pangallo getting credited with a two-out single that put runners at the corners after a bloop to shallow center that was lost in the sun. Pangallo then swiped second before Goldstein's chopper in the hole resulted in an RBI single that made it 4-2. Blandini plated the second run of the inning with a base hit to center, while Buonopane grew the lead to 7-2 with a two-run single through the left side.

Le Moyne made it a game again in the bottom of the frame, with Camillo Spinoso crushing a two-out, three-run homer to left to trim the deficit to 7-5. The Dolphins threatened in the sixth, with Nicholas Jacques leading off by reaching on an error before McDonald nailed down the first two outs. Redshirt-sophomore Brendan Welch then entered, hitting Cox and falling behind Taft before issuing the intentional walk to load the bases. Welch slithered out of trouble with a three-pitch strikeout of Nick Place.

Welch set down the Dolphins, 1-2-3, in the eighth and issued a one-out walk before redshirt-junior Jake Walkinshaw recorded the final two outs and neutralized a one-out walk in the ninth with a game-ending, 5-4-3 double play. Blandini went 2-for-4 with a walk, RBI and two runs scored, with Potter going 2-for-5 with a pair of RBI and a run. Buonopane was 1-for-1 with three walks, two RBI and a run. McDonald (6-2) allowed five runs on five hits, while punching out eight and walking three, over five-and-two-thirds. Welch did not allow a hit in an inning-and-two-thirds of scoreless work, striking out two and walking three. Walkinshaw collected his third save of the season with an inning-and-two-thirds of shutout baseball, striking out two and walking one.

#2 SW New Haven 9, #3 NE Merrimack 0 

MANCHESTER, N.H. – New Haven baseball team (37-8) set a program record for wins in a single season on Friday, as the squad advanced to NE10 Championship Saturday with a 9-0 victory over the No. 3 NW seeded Merrimack (28-19). The shutout came as the ninth this season for New Haven.
Every Charger that appeared at the plate Friday reached base safely, led by senior Joe Caico who went 3-for-5 with two runs batted in. Also leading with two RBI was sophomore Billy Huber, who batted .500 on the day (2-for-4) with two runs scored. Sophomore Matt Chamberlain, junior Andrew Garcia, and sophomore PJ Contreras each had a base hit, while Chamberlain, graduate student Tom Walraven and junior James Myers were all patient at the plate with two walks apiece.
New Haven got a majority of its offense in the first inning, plating five runs on four hits to get off to a hot start over the Warriors. Chamberlain and Huber drew back to back walks and advanced on a wild pitch to advance into scoring position, before Walraven and Caico sent the one and two batters home with back-to-back singles. The offensive burst wasn't finished just yet, as Garcia and Contreras tacked on RBI singles before Merrimack stopped the bleeding, pitching two-straight outs to end the inning.
Each team was silence the next four innings, combining for only three hits in the span. New Haven had another offensive outburst in the bottom of the sixth, scoring three runs on three hits to extend the lead to eight runs. After Caico added an RBI single in the eighth, New Haven capped off the victory on a double play, as the right fielder caught a fly and fired to Walraven at shortstop to propel the Chargers to Championship Saturday.
Freshman Izaiya Mestre (7-2) pitched a gem on the mound, working through 7.0 innings with five strikeouts, only allowing four hits.  

#3 NE Merrimack 9, #1 NE Southern New Hampshire 2

MANCHESTER, N.H. - After falling to New Haven in the winners bracket of the 2018 Northeast-10 Conference Championships to start Friday's action, Merrimack saw freshman Timmy Kalantzakos, pictured, deliver a complete game and graduate student Tyler Lyne go 4-for-4 at the dish to lead a nine-run offensive attack as the Warriors discarded top-seeded Southern New Hampshire to advance to Saturday's NE10 Final. It will be the program's first appearance in Championship Saturday since 2013, and Merrimack will need a win to force a winner-take-all second game between the Warriors and Chargers. 

After not playing in game one, graduate student Tyler Lyne drew a five-pitch walk, stole second and reached third on a wild pitch. Lyne then scored on a wild pitch that followed a swinging third strike. William Keegan reached first on the play and Merrimack took a 1-0 advantage. Keegan came up big again in the third, who was brought to the plate with two outs after an intentional walk to senior Matt Nicholson. With Nicholson on second and Lyne on third, Keegan hit a two-strike single to left field to give the Warriors a 3-0 lead

Kalantzakos got off to a strong start, allowing just one hit through four frames and retiring 12 of the first 13 Penmen he faced. Merrimack's gave the rookie more support, as junior Matthew Ronai knocked in a run and Lyne scored on another wild pitch to give the Warriors a 5-0 lead through 4.5 innings. The bottom of the fifth saw the Penmen tack on their first run of the day, but the inning ended with a runner thrown out at home as junior Cory Wasylow fired into sophomore Nick Shumski who delivered a strike to Smith at the plate to get the runner without a play at the plate

The team's traded runs scored off throwing errors in the sixth inning, leaving the Warriors with a 6-2 through six innings. Fast forward to the top of the eighth, and Shumski collected a two-run double down the right-field line that extended the Warriors' lead to 8-2. Kalantzakos quickly erased a leadoff single with a double play and a lineout, needing only three pitches to do so. He then saw four Penmen in the ninth, ending the night on a punch out to send the Warriors to do the NE10 Final

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:  #2 SW New Haven vs. #3 NE Merrrimack | 10am
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.