Stonehill Holds Off Merrimack, 13-9

Senior Scott Hackett was 3-for-5 with a double and two RBI. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr) 

Big inning the difference again as Skyhawks complete NE-10 series sweep

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. (March 29, 2011) – Stonehill College, ranked fifth in this week's National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Division II East Regional poll, pounded out 18 hits, including six for extra bases, and held off a late rally to claim a 13-9 victory over Merrimack College in Northeast-10 Conference baseball action at Warrior Diamond this afternoon.

Stonehill completed the NE-10 series sweep of Merrimack as all nine Skyhawks had hits, with five registering multiple hit outings and four collecting three hits. Senior Angelo Bruno (Norwalk, Conn./Norwalk) led the way as he hit 3-for-6 with a double, run scored and four RBI. Classmate Scott Hackett (Bangor, Maine/Bangor) was 3-for-5 with a double, two RBI and two runs scored, while junior Kyle Shepard (Boxford, Mass./Masconomet) went 3-for-4 with a triple, RBI and run scored. Junior Steven Popp (Unionville, Conn./Farmington) batted 3-for-6 with a triple, three runs scored and an RBI, while sophomore James DeAlto (Briarcliff Manor, N.Y./Briarcliff) finished 2-for-5 with a double, run scored and three RBI.

Freshman lefthander Zach Soulier (Milford, Conn./Jonathan Law) picked up his third win (3-0) for Stonehill, allowing five runs, just two earned, on seven hits with five strikeouts and two walks in five innings of work.

Senior Angelo Bruno drove in four runs with his three-hit afternoon. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)

Sophomore Joe Mantoni (Hopedale, Mass./Hopedale) paced Merrimack's offense that racked up 16 hits, including five doubles, by hitting 4-for-4 with three doubles, a run scored and two RBI. Junior Tim Curran (South Weymouth, Mass./Xaverian Brothers) was also 4-for-4, adding a double and two runs scored, while sophomore Mark O'Flynn (Ipswich, Mass./Ipswich) batted 2-for-5 with a double, run scored and three RBI. Sophomore Brett Julian (Weymouth, Mass./Weymouth) went 2-for-5 with an RBI and run scored.

Senior righthander Keith Johansen (Tyngsborough, Mass./Tyngsborough) took the loss (1-2) on the mound for Merrimack, yielding eight runs, seven earned, on nine hits with three strikeouts and four walks over three innings.

For the second-straight game against Merrimack, Stonehill staked out a 10-0 lead, opening the scoring in the first as junior Michael White (Lisbon, N.H./Lisbon Regional), who extended his team-leading hitting streak to 12 games with a third inning single, reached on a fielder's choice and scored when Bruno followed with a two-out double.

Stonehill broke the game open with a seven-run third. Hackett walked and White was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning before Bruno drove both in with a single. The Skyhawks loaded the bases and then DeAlto singled through the left side to score Bruno. Sophomore Michael Zeiner (Simsbury, Conn./Simsbury) followed with a sacrifice fly and then Hackett delivered a two-run single and White rounded out the inning with an RBI single.

Stonehill added two more runs in the fourth on a two-run double to center by DeAlto before Merrimack got on the board with five runs in the home half of the fifth to cut its deficit in half. Mantoni had an RBI double and O'Flynn contributed a two-run single to key the inning. The Skyhawks got two of those runs back in the fifth as junior Rich McHugh (Pembroke, Mass./Thayer Academy) walked before Popp and Shepard legged out back-to-back RBI triples.

Flynn hit an RBI double and scored on a single through the right side by Julian in a two-run sixth for Merrimack. The Warriors closed within three (12-9) with two more in the eighth on RBI singles from junior Paul Arce (West Hartford, Conn./Hampden Hall) and Martoni. Stonehill rounded out the scoring with a run in the ninth on an RBI single by Bruno to score Hackett who had led off with a single. Senior righthander Brenden Shepard (Boxford, Mass./Masconomet) retired the Warriors in order in the bottom of the ninth, striking out the last two batters, to seal the victory.

Stonehill (16-7, 2-2 NE-10) and Merrimack (7-8, 0-4 NE-10) close out their three-game series this week with a non-conference clash at Lou Gorman Field in Easton, Mass., on Thursday at 3:30 p.m.

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