NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. - The Saint Michael's College baseball team nearly erased a five-run deficit but left the tying run at third base during the ninth inning of a 7-6 loss at regionally-ranked Merrimack College on Sunday at Warrior Diamond. The Purple Knights, who are now 1-19 overall and 1-18 in the Northeast-10 Conference, lost its last two games by one run during the three-contest weekend series. The Warriors, who sit fifth in the latest New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA) poll, are 18-15-1 and 12-4-1.
Sophomore Sean Winthrop (Hopkinton, Mass./Lawrence Academy) finished 3-for-4 with two runs, an RBI and a stolen base for the visitors, while classmate Harry Southworth (Taunton, Mass./Coyle & Cassidy) was 2-for-3 with a run, a sacrifice hit and a steal. Sophomore Trevor Allen (Dennis, Mass./Dennis-Yarmouth Regional) added two hits, an RBI and a double, while senior Drew Salk (Billerica, Mass./Billerica Memorial) went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a walk. Junior Patrick Martin (Wilton, N.H./Wilton-Lyndeborough Coop/Saint Joseph's [Maine]) was the hard-luck loser, allowing six runs - but only one earned - on five hits in four innings. As the second reliever, sophomore Christian Devine (Exeter, N.H./Exeter) tossed a pair of shutout innings.
Senior Aidan O'Leary went 2-for-3 with a run, three RBIs and a double for Merrimack, while classmate Cam DiSarcina was 2-for-3 with three runs and two doubles. Sophomore Tucker Lord allowed five runs in 5.1 innings for the win, and senior Nate Spielvogel fanned three in a pair of shutout frames for the save.
Lord picked up three of his five strikeouts in the first inning, and the Warriors put three two-out runs - all unearned - on the board in the home half. O'Leary's two-run double plated the opening runs. In the second, Salk's two-out single brought in Winthrop to make it 3-1, but three more two-out runs, two of which were unearned, came home in the bottom of the inning for the hosts, who led by five.
The Purple Knights slowly chipped away at their deficit, beginning with Winthrop's two-out single bringing in junior PJ Jasak (Palmer, Mass./Wilbraham & Monson Academy/Le Moyne), who had doubled, during the fourth. Southworth and sophomore Dan Flynn (Williamstown, Mass./Mount Greylock Regional) scored on a two-out error in the fifth, bringing the visitors within 6-4. O'Leary's sac fly in the home half was met by Flynn's RBI groundout in the sixth, and Allen doubled home sophomore Calvin Holland (Hopkinton, Mass./Hopkinton) in the seventh inning to make it 7-6 before being left in scoring position.
With runners at second and third and no one out in the Merrimack portion of the seventh, second baseman Flynn caught a foul pop before cutting down a runner at the plate on the play, and another pop his way with runners at the corners ended the frame. In the eighth, Southworth singled with one out and stole second with two down but was stranded. During the ninth, sophomore Joe Robertson (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) led off by being hit by a pitch, and senior Steven Auger (Hopkinton, N.H./Hopkinton) later pinch ran and stole second with one out. After moving to third on a groundout, Auger, representing the tying run, was left on when the final batter struck out.
The Purple Knights are back in action on Wednesday at No. 5 Southern New Hampshire University for a 3:30 p.m. doubleheader. The Penmen's national ranking is according to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA).