Baseball Drops Divisional Doubleheader at Franklin Pierce

RINDGE, NH- The Merrimack baseball team absorbed a pair of losses at Franklin Pierce Saturday afternoon. The Warriors fell 12-7 and 15-3 to dip to 17-27 on the year and 4-12 in the Northeast Division of the Northeast-10 Conference. The Ravens improve to 30-13-1 overall and 11-4-1 in divisional action.

Joe Mantoni (Northbridge, MA) paced Merrimack with three homers on the day as he drove in four RBIs. Eddie Newton (North Billerica, MA) collected three base hits and three RBIs in the twinbill. Casey Cotter (North Hampton, NH) finished with two hits and one RBI.

The Warriors plated a pair of runs in the top of the first inning to open the scoring. After Tim Curran (Weymouth, MA) laced a double down the left field line, Merrimack loaded the bases as Mantoni and Dionys Quezada (Lawrence, MA) were both hit by pitches. Mark O'Flynn (Ipswich, MA) was hit by a pitch to drive in Curran from third. Newton followed by working a one-out walk to score the visitors' second run of the afternoon.

Franklin Pierce got on the board in the bottom of the frame as Zach Mathieu knocked in James Roche with a two-out double to right.

The Warriors expanded their advantage to three runs in the second, 4-1. Mantoni belted a two-run home run to centerfield as Cotter came around to score.

The Ravens used a seven-hit outburst in the home half of the second to tally five runs and capture a 6-4 lead. Calvin Graves and Dan Hennigan picked up back-to-back RBI singles. Roche lifted a sacrifice fly to left to score Anthony Peguero and tie the game at 4-4. Graves scampered home on a wild pitch before Mathieu laced a single up the middle to plate Hennigan.

The hosts added a run in the fourth to increase the gap to three, 7-4. Hennigan crossed the plate for the second time in the game as Roche grounded into a double play.

Franklin Pierce scored a run in the sixth to claim an 8-4 edge. With runners on second and third, Dan Kemp knocked in Graves from third with a bunt single. The Ravens posted four runs in the seventh to seize a 12-4 lead. Isaac Wenrich, Peguero and Graves all recorded RBI base hits in the frame. Peguero also motored home on a passed ball.

Mantoni led off the top of the eighth with his second longball of the contest, cutting the deficit to 12-5. Paul Arce scooted home on a ground out by Newton later in the frame.

Cotter hammered a two-out solo homer to center in the top of the ninth to cap off the scoring in game one.

Mike Laracy (Weymouth, MA) tossed two innings as he started the opening tilt and picked up three strikeouts. Brett Julian (Weymouth, MA) hurled five innings in relief action before Colin Norris (Andover, MA) pitched the eighth for the Warriors.

In the nightcap, Merrimack jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first as Mantoni launched his third homer of the doubleheader.

Franklin Pierce knotted the score at 1-1 in the home half of the first. Hennigan scampered home as Roche was thrown out at second attempting to steal.

Wenrich and Peguero landed consecutive RBI doubles to right to give the home side a 3-1 advantage in the second frame. The Ravens added a run in the third on a solo homer to center by Roche.

Franklin Pierce plated a pair of runs in the fifth to grab a 5-1 lead. Mathieu doubled to right-center to score Roche and Kemp.

The Ravens erupted for eight runs in the sixth to extend their edge to 13-1. Graves singled to right center to knock in RJ Going from second. Roche drove in two runs with a single to center field before the hosts loaded the bases. Matt Walsh was hit by a pitch to score a run and Wenrich followed with a grand slam to right center.

A fielding error in the eighth allowed Franklin Pierce to tack on a run as Kevin McGowan crossed the plate.

Merrimack scored twice in the ninth to tally its second and third runs of the game. Rob Crocitto (Woburn, MA) and Newton each drove in a run with back-to-back ground outs.

Travis Terrill (Hudson, NH) started the contest and worked the first five innings while fanning a pair of batters. Norris made his second relief appearances of the day, working the sixth and seventh innings while striking out two. O'Flynn tossed one inning in his second pitching appearance of the season and earned one strikeout.

The Warriors and Ravens will close out the weekend series with a single nine-inning game April 29.