Big Inning Leads Stonehill Past Merrimack, 11-4

Junior lefthander Michael White struck out 12 of the 21 batters he faced over six strong innings to improve to 3-0 this season. He has allowed just four earned runs over his last 52 innings of work dating back to last season. 

Zeiner drives in three and White strikes out 12 to key Skyhawks win

EASTON, Mass. (March 27, 2011) – Stonehill College, ranked fifth in this week's National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Division II East Regional poll, used an eight-run first inning to fuel an 11-4 bounce back win over Merrimack College in Northeast-10 Conference baseball action at Lou Gorman Field this afternoon.

Sophomore Michael Zeiner (Simsbury, Conn./Simsbury) keyed Stonehill's 15-hit attack as he went 2-for-3 with a triple, two runs scored and three RBI. Junior Kyle Shepard (Boxford, Mass./Masconomet) hit 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles, an RBI and two runs scored, while sophomore James DeAlto (Briarcliff Manor, N.Y./Briarcliff) finished 2-for-3 with a double, RBI and run scored. Junior Rich McHugh (Pembroke, Mass./Thayer Academy) batted 2-for-3 with an RBI and run scored and senior Scott Hackett (Bangor, Maine/Bangor) rounded out the Skyhawks multi-hit performances by going 2-for-4 with an RBI and run scored. All nine Skyhawks in the starting lineup had a hit in the contest.

The offense was more than enough for junior lefthander Michael White (Lisbon, N.H./Lisbon Regional) who was dominant again in notching the win on the mound (3-0), allowing just an earned run on three hits with a career-high 12 strikeouts and no walks over six innings. He also hit 1-for-4 at the plate with an RBI to extend his hitting streak to a team-best 11 games. White has not allowed more than a run over his last seven starts, yielding just four earned runs over his last 52 innings dating back to last season (0.69 ERA).

Sophomore Michael Zeiner drove in three runs, including a two-run triple in the Skyhawks eight-run first. 

Sophomore Joe Mantoni (Hopedale, Mass./Hopedale) led Merrimack as he hit 2-for-3 with a home run. Freshman Brandon Cox (Nashua, N.H./Nashua) was 1-for-4 with an RBI, while junior Tim Curran (South Weymouth, Mass./Xaverian Brothers) went 1-for-3 with a double.

Sophomore lefthander Mike Laracy (Weymouth, Mass./Weymouth) suffered the loss (1-2) as he surrendered eight unearned runs on six hits in a third of an inning.

Stonehill sent 11 batters to the plate in an eight-run first inning to score all the runs it would need. The Skyhawks took advantage of two errors, stringing together five-straight hits, including a two-run triple by Zeiner to chase Laracy. Shepard had a sun-aided RBI double during that stretch, while McHugh, DeAlto and junior Steven Popp (Unionville, Conn./Farmington) all contributed RBI singles.

Hackett delivered an RBI single with two out in the third and senior Angelo Bruno (Norwalk, Conn./Norwalk) led off the fourth with his team-leading fifth home run of the season to push Stonehill's lead to 10-0. White, meanwhile was cruising, retiring the first 11 batters he faced before Curran doubled with two out in the fourth. He struck out 12 of the 21 batters he faced in the outing and followed up a leadoff home run by Mantoni to break up the shutout bid in the fifth by striking out the side for the second time on the afternoon.

Stonehill regained a ten run cushion in the sixth as Shepard singled up the middle with one out and scored on a two out single to center by Zeiner. Merrimack rounded out the scoring with three runs on just one hit in the ninth, taking advantage of five walks, with Cox posting an RBI single with two out.

Stonehill (15-7, 1-2 NE-10) and Merrimack (6-7, 0-3 NE-10) will be back in action for game two of their three-game series this week on Tuesday in North Andover, Mass., at 3:30 p.m. The two clubs will close out the series with a non-conference clash back here at Gorman Field on Thursday at 3:30 p.m.

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