NASHUA, N.H. – The Saint Anselm College baseball team lost in heartbreaking fashion on Friday evening to its Northeast-10 Conference rival, Merrimack College. The Hawks yielded four runs in the final two innings, losing by a 5-4 margin via a bases-loaded walk at Nashua's Holman Stadium.
Saint Anselm falls to 8-16 on the season, having lost nine of its 11 games played against NE10 opponents. Merrimack moves above .500 on the year, improving to 14-13 while winning its seventh league fixture of the year.
The Hawks led by a 4-2 margin heading into the bottom of the ninth inning but a sacrifice fly plated the Warriors third run before Merrimack drew a bases-loaded walk to end the game.
Back-to-back walks by Jared Ferris opened the inning before Hawks reliever Danny Garofalo allowed a bunt single, loading the bases. Outfielder Tyler Lyne hit a sacrifice fly to right field, recording the first out for Merrimack and driving in the first run of the inning. Another walk re-loaded the bases before Garofalo was able to strike out the right fielder, Matt Nicholson, swinging. From there, back-to-back walks by Garofalo and Elijah Fish ended the game in favor of the designated host team.
The Saint Anselm defense committed a miscue on the first Merrimack batter of the game – Joey Porricelli would ultimately come around to score the game's first run, dashing home from third base while the Hawks tagged the runner trying to steal from first to second.
Hawks outfielder Oscar Larranaga drove in two runs in the top of the sixth inning, lifting Saint Anselm to a 2-1 lead. The advantage grew to 3-1 in the next inning as catcher Jason Turner singled to center, plating pinch-runner Mike Goddu who entered after a walk by John Marculitis.
Right fielder Connor Parent lifted Saint Anselm to a 4-1 lead in the top of the eighth inning, tripling to right-center field and driving in Larranaga who reached on a one-out single to center.
Merrimack plated a run in the bottom of the eighth inning as Lyne's single to left-center drove in a Warriors baserunner.
Will Conaton pitched an outstanding game for the Hawks, allowing zero earned runs while striking out five Merrimack batters. He also allowed only four hits and limited his walks, issuing only one free pass to the Warriors. Four Hawks pitchers entered in relief of Conaton, combining to allow four earned runs, three hits and six walks in the final three innings of work.
PJ Browne started the game on the hill for Merrimack, striking out six batters in six-and-a-third innings of work. Stephen Fleury came on in relief, retiring two batters, before departing in favor of Cam Monagle, who allowed only one earned run across two innings of work.
Saint Anselm will look to win the series with back-to-back victories over Merrimack on Saturday, Apr. 14 in a doubleheader that will begin at 12 p.m. from Holman Stadium in Nashua, N.H.