NORTH ANDOVER, MA- Behind four-hit efforts from Casey Cotter (North Hampton, NH) and Mark O'Flynn (Ipswich, MA), the Merrimack baseball team captured a pair of dramatic walk-off wins over New Haven Saturday afternoon. The Warriors prevailed 7-6 in 11 innings in game one and 5-4 in game two to rise to 14-16 overall. The Chargers move to 14-9-1 on the season with the losses.
O'Flynn and Cotter paced Merrimack offensively with four hits, including a walk-off hit each. O'Flynn drove in three runs on the day, including the game-winner in the nightcap. Cotter's lone RBI came in the bottom of the 10th inning to lift the Warriors to a 7-6 victory.
Tim Curran (Weymouth, MA) led the way with four RBIs in the twinbill on two hits. John Pastyrnak (Bristol, CT) and Eddie Newton (North Billerica, MA) each collected three base knocks on the day while Joe Mantoni (Northbridge, MA) and Alex Ciullo (Fall River,MA) chipped in with two apiece.
The Warriors pushed across the first run of the day in the home half of the first frame. With the bases full, O'Flynn scorched a hard groundball headed to the gap in the left side of the infield but the Chargers' shortstop knocked it down to limit just one runner scoring.
Merrimack tallied five runs in the bottom of the second to claim a 6-0 lead. With a runner on first, Curran launched a two-run homer over the fence in right-center for his first of the year. Cotter followed with a bunt single before Mantoni raked a double to left to score him.
After the Warriors loaded the bases with two outs, Newton landed a two-run single to shallow right to allow O'Flynn and Mantoni to cross the plate.
New Haven got on the board in the top of the sixth inning to slice the deficit to 6-1. Brendon Buckley lifted a sacrifice fly out to right field to drive in Stephen Clout from third.
The Chargers leveled the contest at 6-6 with a five-run ninth. Three-straight singles loaded the bases for the visitors with no outs. Tim Geer plated a run with a groundout to the right side of the infield. Two runs came in to score as a throwing error allowed Clout to reach and advance to second.
Cory Carr followed with an RBI double to drive in New Haven's fourth run of the game. Ryan Brockett landed a ball in left that bounced over the fielder and rolled to the fence, allowing Carr and Brockett to both score as the visitors tied the score at 6-6.
In the bottom of the 10th, Ciullo collected a lead-off single down the right field line and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by John Pastyrnak. After an intentional walk issued to Curran, Cotter laced a one-out single to right on the first pitch he saw to plate the game-winning run as the Warriors won the opening tilt in walk-off fashion.
Mike Laracy (Weymouth, MA) started the game and tossed 5.2 innings while fanning four batters and allowing one run. Danny Karasinski (Staten Island, NY) pitched 2.1 frames in relief action and registered two strikeouts. Tyler Cuming (Red Bank, NJ) recorded the first two outs of the ninth inning before Alek Morency (Nashua, NH) came on to finish the game with 1.1 innings pitched and two strikeouts to earn his first win of the season.
In the nightcap, the Chargers plated the first runs as Carr singled home David Wirkus to give the visiting side a 1-0 lead in the top of the third frame.
New Haven tripled its advantage to 3-0 in the fourth inning. Andrew Johnson picked up a one-out double and Zach Collett followed with a double to left center to score the Chargers' first run of the frame. Collett came around to score on a single by Wirkus.
The visitors increased their margin to four runs, 4-0, in the fifth. Buckley pushed Clout across the plate with a single through the left side of the infield.
Merrimack tacked on a run in the home half of the sixth. A two-out double down the left field line drove in Cotter from third.
The hosts minimize the deficit to one run with a two-run frame in the seventh. Newton and John Pastyrnak each crossed the plate on a two-out single by Curran.
The Warriors knotted the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the eighth inning. Tom Lanzoni (Wallingford, CT) scampered home from third on a sacrifice bunt by Joe Burnham (Woburn, MA) to score the tying run.
In the home half of the ninth, Mantoni reached base with two outs after being hit by a pitch for the fourth time on the afternoon. Alan Pastyrnak (Bristol, CT) pinch ran for Mantoni and motored home from first on a single by O'Flynn to end the game.
Joe Carnevale (East Providence, RI) pitched five innings in his seventh start of the year and racked up three strikeouts. Colin Norris (Andover, MA) tossed a pair of scoreless innings in relief while recording one strikeout. Brett Julian (Weymouth, MA) earned the win on the mound as he hurled the final two frames and fanned two batters while allowing no hits and no runs.
The Warriors return to action as they travel to UMass Lowell April 11 for a night game under the lights of LeLacheur Park.