HAVERHILL, Mass. (April 27, 2019) – The Franklin Pierce University baseball team saw its four-game winning streak come to a screeching halt on Saturday afternoon at Trinity Stadium, as the Ravens were swept in a Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division doubleheader on the road at Merrimack. The Warriors posted a dominant, 10-1 victory in the first game, and then squeaked out a 3-2 win in 13 innings in the second game.
With the losses, Franklin Pierce falls to 20-18 (13-9 NE10, 9-7 NE Div.), while first-place Merrimack improves to 25-13 (18-4 NE10, 14-2 NE Div.). The two teams will meet again on Sunday to round out the three-game series. First pitch is set for noon at Trinity Stadium.
Game 1: Merrimack 10, Franklin Pierce 1
Trailing 1-0 through five innings, Franklin Pierce leveled the first game of the day at 1-1 with a run in the top of the sixth. The damage came with two outs, as junior catcher Dylan Jones (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) was hit by a pitch, went first-to-third on a single by senior second baseman Carmine Giordano (New Rochelle, N.Y.) and scored on the play as well, as the center fielder misplayed the ball.
The run proved to be for naught though, as Merrimack responded with seven runs in the home half of the sixth to take control of the game. Two walks, a hit batter and an error did not help things, as the Warriors needed just four hits to plate the septet of runs. Junior third baseman Joey Porricelli capped the inning with the biggest blow of the frame, a three-run, inside-the-park home run to left field. Junior first baseman Thomas Joyce and freshman left fielder Michael Golankiewicz provided RBI singles in the frame, while the remaining two runs scored via a wild pitch and a squeeze bunt.
Merrimack would tack on a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh on a two-run single by Golankiewicz to create the 10-1 final.
Graduate student right-hander Ryan Covelle (Medford, Mass.) started and threw 92 pitches (62 strikes) over the first 5.2 innings on the mound for Franklin Pierce. He was touched for eight runs on seven hits, walked three, hit two batters and struck out four while taking the loss (5-4).
Sophomore right-hander Vin Zappulla (6-1) used 108 pitches (67 strikes) to log six innings on the hill for Merrimack. He allowed just an unearned run on five hits, walked five, hit a batter and struck out three on the way to the win.
Game 2: Merrimack 3, Franklin Pierce 2 (13 innings)
The second game of the day was much more competitive and could not be decided in regulation. Merrimack opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. Porricelli led off with a single to left and moved to second on a bunt single by junior shortstop Nick Shumski. After a double steal, a walk and a fielder's choice, two runs would come home to score on a one-out, bases-loaded single by sophomore catcher Thomas Crowley.
Franklin Pierce would eventually answer with two runs of its own in the top of the sixth. With one out senior left fielder Brad Roberto (San Diego, Calif.) took a walk, moved to second on a groundout and scored on an RBI single back through the middle by senior Ural Forbes (Freeport, Bahamas), who caught the second game. Forbes moved around to third on a ground-rule double to left-center by junior right fielder John Mead (Washington Township, N.J.) and scored on an RBI infield single by freshman third baseman Jethro Hurt (New York, N.Y.).
After the next six innings went without further scoring, Merrimack plated the winning run in the home half of the 13th. Crowley opened the inning with a single up the middle, stole second and moved to third on a single to left by Golankiewicz. The pivotal at-bat of the game belonged to senior second baseman Anthony Garbarino, who dropped down a squeeze bunt to chase home Crowley with the winning run.
Senior left-hander Evan Glew (North Andover, Mass.) started on mound for Franklin Pierce, but exited after just 3.2 innings of work. He allowed two runs on six hits, walked two and struck out five. Freshman right-hander Danny Gracia (Wilmington, Mass.) was stellar over the next 4.2 innings, as he did not allow a run on just one hit and one hit batsman, to go with four strikeouts. Sophomore left-hander Patrick Hannon (Willington, Conn.) eventually came on for the final 2.1 innings and suffered the loss (1-2) after allowing one run on four hits.
Sophomore right-hander Timmy Kalantzakos used 97 pitches (58 strikes) to get through the first six innings on the mound for Merrimack. He surrendered two runs on seven hits, walked two and struck out six. Senior right-hander Trevor Cooley piled up eight strikeouts while throwing scoreless ball and allowing just one hit and two walks over the next six innings. The 13th-inning run made a winner out of sophomore right-hander Jake Thibault (2-2), who retired the side in order in the top half of the 13th.
For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics (https://www.fpuravens.com). Also be sure to follow the Ravens through the Department of Athletics' official Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceRavens), its YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/franklinpiercesports) and its Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/FPUathletics). Fans wishing to purchase Franklin Pierce baseball apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics' online store (https://www.fpuravens.com/store).