HAVERHILL, Mass. - Thanks to a late rally in the opener and a high-powered offensive performance in the nightcap, the Merrimack baseball team swept Assumption, taking game one by a slim 6-5 margin before routing the Greyhounds, 13-2, in game two in Northeast-10 Conference action at Trinity Stadium in Haverhill, Mass.
Improving to 11-5 on the year while starting conference play 2-0, the Warriors will return to action tomorrow with another afternoon doubleheader against American Int'l back at Trinity Stadium, while the Greyhounds sink to 3-11 overall and 1-3 in conference action.
Trailing by a run in the top of the eighth, Merrimack rallied for two runs late in the game and held on late, as the Warriors edged Assumption, 6-5, in game one Saturday afternoon.
Senior southpaw Brian Wolfendale (Methuen, Mass.) earned the win in relief after sophomore Joe Carnevale (East Providence, R.I.) started for the Navy and Gold, while senior Joe Mantoni (Northbridge, Mass.) earned the save after shutting down the Greyhounds late in the game.
Assumption grabbed an early 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second, plating a run on a single with the bases loaded before more two crossed by means of an error. But the Warriors would get on the board in the top of the fourth, as senior Casey Cotter (North Hampton, N.H.) sliced the deficit to one (3-2) with a double down the left field line.
The Greyhounds, however, would tack on another run in the bottom of the fourth and then again in the fifth, pushing ahead, 5-2, after five innings of play. That, however, would be the last time the Assumption offense would generate anything, leaving the door open for the Warriors in the later innings.
Merrimack's rally began in the top of the seventh, as rookie Frank Crinella (Springfield, Mass.) and senior Alan Pastyrnak Jr. (Bristol, Conn.) strung together back-to-back RBI singles to slice the deficit to one (5-4).
The Navy and Gold completed the comeback in the top of the eighth, with Crinella leading the charge again on a sharp single up the middle to tie the contest at 5-5. Moments later, it was John Pastyrak (Bristol, Conn.) giving the Warriors the lead for good on a squeeze play, making it 6-5 heading to the bottom of the eighth.
After leaving two runners on, Mantoni entered the game in relief and kept the Greyhounds off the board to keep the Warriors in front after eight. Despite Merrimack failing to generate any insurance in the top of the ninth, Mantoni would have no trouble sealing the deal, earning the save in the bottom of the ninth to preserve the one-run lead for the eventual win.
Guided by back-to-back four-run innings, Merrimack eased to a sweep of the Greyhounds thanks to a high-powered offense and a fine outing by southpaw Alek Morency (Nashua, N.H.), as the Warriors swept Assumption with a 13-2 win in game two on Saturday night.
Morency, the junior, improved to 3-1 on the year thanks to a stifling outing, while his offense more than backed him up, as the Warriors finished the day with 19 runs between the two games.
Merrimack wasted no time igniting the scoreboard early on, as Cotter used an RBI base knock in the top of the first to give the Warriors a 1-0 lead. An inning later, it was Crinella and senior Mark O'Flynn (Ipswich, Mass.) connecting on consecutive singles to up the lead to 3-0 after two innings.
Down by three, Assumption managed its only offense of the nightcap by getting to Morency for a pair of runs in the bottom of the third, but those two runs would be only ones that the Greyhounds would plate in the late game.
Merrimack would respond with a four-run top of the fourth, upping its lead to 7-2 thanks to a run scoring on a bases-loaded walk while also seeing run-scoring base hits from freshman Matt Brown (Belmont, Mass.) and junior Eddie Newton (North Billerica, Mass.).
But the Warriors weren't done there, as John Pastyrnak started the top of the fifth by knocking in two more with a base hit up the middle. One batter later, sophomore Dionys Quezada (Lawrence, Mass.) plated another run on a sacrifice fly before Crinella wrapped up another four-run inning with an RBI single, as the Warriors took an 11-2 lead after four-and-a-half frames.
From there on out, Morency kept the Greyhounds at bay before the Warrior offense tacked on two final runs in the top of the seventh before sophomore lefty Matt Solar (Sterling, Mass.) shut the door in the bottom of the seventh to secure the sweep.