COLCHESTER, VT- The Merrimack baseball team split a divisional doubleheader at Saint Michael's Saturday afternoon, falling 5-1 in game one before claiming an 8-2 victory in the nightcap. The Warriors move to 15-18 overall and 2-6 in the Northeast Division of the Northeast-10 Conference. The Purple Knights progress to 8-18 on the season and 2-7 in the division.
"I was proud of the way our team bounced back in game two to earn the win," said head coach Jim Martin. "We turned in quality at-bats in game two and that helped us rebound in the doubleheader and in the game after falling behind early. I was proud of the way that our team battled and never gave up."
John Pastyrnak (Bristol, CT) led the way offensively with three hits on the day and two runs scored. CJ Flannery (Hudson, MA) and Alan Pastyrnak (Bristol, CT) each contributed with two base knocks in the twinbill.
In the opening tilt, Saint Michael's plated a run in each of the first three innings. The Purple Knights claimed a 1-0 lead in the first as Chris Puliafico collected an RBI single through the left side of the infield.
The home team doubled its edge to 2-0 in the second frame as Don McGuirl landed a single in right to score Chadwick Estey from third. Saint Michael's added a run in the third on a base hit to the gap in right center by Estey which allowed Nicky Elderton to cross the plate.
Merrimack got on the board in the top of the fifth inning to cut the deficit to 3-1. John Pastyrnak scored on an error as a throw from first to second got away from the shortstop.
The Purple Knights restored their lead to three runs in the home half of the frame to grab a 4-1 advantage. Nick Nelson raked a two-out triple to right center to drive in Elderton.
Saint Michael's tacked on a run in the seventh as Nelson's single into left field scored Jacob Begnoche from third.
Mike Laracy (Weymouth, MA) started the game on the hill and went three innings with one strikeout. Tyler Cuming (Red Bank, NJ) tossed two innings and fanned a pair of batters. Colin Norris (Andover, MA) hurled two relief innings and struck out one batter. Brett Julian (Weymouth, MA) pitched the final frame and retired one batter by way of the "K".
In the nightcap, the Purple Knights struck for a run in the first inning as Alec Tice ripped an inside-the-park home run to center to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
Merrimack captured a 4-1 lead in the seventh frame. Eddie Newton (North Billerica, MA) plated Joe Mantoni (Northbridge, MA) with a bunt to level the score at 1-1. Flannery pushed the Warriors ahead for the first time in the doubleheader as he raked a single back up the middle on the first pitch he saw to drive in John Pastyrnak.
Alex Ciullo (Fall River, MA) picked up an RBI with a sacrifice bunt that scored Newton. Alan Pastyrnak capped off the scoring in the inning with an RBI single to center which allowed Tom Lanzoni (Wallingford, CT) to cross the plate.
Saint Michael's scored a run in the bottom of the seventh to pull to within two runs, 4-2. Corey Livingston landed an RBI single in center to drive in Nelson.
Merrimack doubled its run total to eight with a four-run frame in the eighth inning. Casey Cotter (North Hampton, NH) led off with a triple and scored on a single by Mantoni. John Pastyrnak collected an RBI double to right to drive in Mantoni from second with one out.
Newton followed with the Warriors' second triple of the inning and John Pastyrnak came around to score on the hit. Joe Burnham (Woburn, MA) plated Newton from third with a sacrifice fly to left.
Joe Carnevale (East Providence, RI) went six innings to start the game and struck out four batters while surrendering six hits and no walks. Alek Morency (Nashua, NH) worked the final three innings in a relief capacity and held the Purple Knights scoreless while allowing no hits and racking up four strikeouts.
Merrimack and Saint Michael's will close out the weekend series with a single 9-inning game Sunday, April 15.