NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. - The Saint Michael's College baseball team opened a three-game series against regionally-ranked Merrimack College with a pair of losses, 12-3 and 3-2, on Saturday at Warrior Diamond in Northeast-10 Conference play. The Purple Knights are 1-18 overall and 1-17 in the league, while the Warriors, who are fifth in the latest New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA) poll, improved to 17-15-1 and 11-4-1. The teams complete their series on Sunday with a 12 p.m. contest.
In the opener, sophomore Calvin Holland (Hopkinton, Mass./Hopkinton) finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a double, while classmate Sean Winthrop (Hopkinton, Mass./Lawrence Academy) singled and scored. Sophomore Harry Southworth (Taunton, Mass./Coyle & Cassidy) went 1-for-2 with a hit-by-pitch, while classmate Denis Cooney (Pittsfield, Mass./Pittsfield) took the loss after allowing five earned runs in three innings. Sophomore Alex Sprague (Nottingham, N.H./Proctor Academy) tossed a 1-2-3 eighth inning in relief.
Senior Cam DiSarcina hit 2-for-3 with three RBIs and a triple for Merrimack, and junior Matt Nicholson was 2-for-3 with two runs, two RBIs, a walk, a home run and a stolen base. Classmate Anthony Lupi worked six two-hit, shutout innings while striking out six and walking none.
Three Warriors had run-scoring at bats in the first inning to put their team up for good, and another seven runs came home in the third, with Nicholson's two-run homer and graduate student Mike Forgione's two-out, three-run double the key hits. Only three of the runs were earned. After Lupi set down the first 13 Purple Knights, senior Steven Auger (Hopkinton, N.H./Hopkinton) reached on a one-out error in the fifth and Southworth followed with a single, but the visitors were held off the board. Two more Merrimack runs came around in the home half.
During the latter portion of the game, Holland's two-out, two-run single scored Winthrop and Auger for a pair of unearned runs in the seventh before Holland doubled in sophomore Dan Flynn (Williamstown, Mass./Mount Greylock Regional) with two down in the ninth.
In the nightcap, sophomore Trevor Allen (Dennis, Mass./Dennis-Yarmouth Regional) doubled and drove in two, while Holland finished 1-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base. Sophomore Joe Robertson (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) singled and scored, and first-year Connor Hopkins (Windham, N.H./Windham) was also plated and drew a walk. Sophomore Drew Farris (Andover, Mass./Saint John's Prep) was the hard-luck loser, with two of his three runs earned over seven innings. He struck out two and walked none before classmate Christian Devine (Exeter, N.H./Exeter) worked a shutout eighth.
Six Warriors had one hit, and senior Matt DiNello nabbed the win in relief, as he tossed two shutout innings and yielded one hit. Senior Nate Spielvogel fanned the side in the ninth for the save.
On a walk to Hopkins and singles from Robertson and Holland, Saint Michael's loaded the bases with no one out in the first inning before Allen's two-out, two-run double put the Purple Knights in front. However, only four batters reached during the remainder of the game, with none scoring. Flynn was left a third to end the second, Holland walked and stole second in the third, and senior Drew Salk (Billerica, Mass./Billerica Memorial) led off the fourth with a single before swiping second base, as each was stranded.
Farris left a runner in scoring position during each of the first two innings and pitched around a one-out single in the fifth to keep it 2-0. With runners at second and third and one down in the seventh, an infield error allowed both runs to score before junior Ricky Smith's pinch-hit single plated senior Paul Buckley with the unearned winning run. DiNello and Spielvogel combined to retire every batter they faced in the final two innings.