WALTHAM, Mass. – Merrimack College senior catcher Ricky Smith (Weymouth) broke a 7-7 tie with a two-out sixth-inning single and the Warriors went on to post a 9-7 win over Bentley University in Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division baseball Tuesday afternoon on DeFelice Field.
Bentley, which had trailed 5-0 early, battled back to forge a 7-7 tie before being blanked over the final four innings by Merrimack relievers Daniel Amidon (Andover) and Trevor Cooley (Randolph). Amidon, a lefty, earned the win with 5.1 innings of work and Cooley, a right-hander, came on for the final two outs to record the save.
The Falcons, after giving up two runs in the first and second and one in the third, began their comeback with four runs in the bottom of the third. Senior second baseman Mike Samko (Arlington/ BB&N) had a sacrifice fly, graduate catcher Nathan Littman (Abington/Abington HS) scored on a failed pickoff attempt, sophomore shortstop Chris Hopkins (Malden/Malden Catholic HS) had an RBI single to right and sophomore third baseman Charlie Auditore (Walpole/Walpole HS) was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Merrimack extended its lead with a run in the top of the fourth, but Bentley answered with two in the bottom half to create a 6-6 tie. Littman walked, Samko singled to left and both scored on a double to deep center by Hopkins.
Both teams added one run to their total in the fifth with Bentley's scored by junior DH Austin Farry (Watertown/Watertown HS). He reached on an error and eventually scored on a sac fly by junior right fielder Brandon Grover (Rocky Hill, Conn./Rocky Hill HS).
Merrimack (23-17, 10-7 NE10 Northeast) scored the go-ahead run in the sixth. Sophomore first baseman Thomas Joyce (Newton) reached on an error, took second on a fielder's choice and scored on Smith's two-out single to center. The Warriors added an insurance run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by junior DH Matthew Ronai (Orange, Conn.).
Bentley's ten hits included two apiece from sophomore left fielder Max Troiani (Sudbury/ Lincoln-Sudbury Reg. HS), junior left fielder Gino Fordiani (Sudbury/Lincoln-Sudbury Reg. HS), Samko and Hopkins. Samko extended his streak of consecutive games reaching base to 31 games.
Ronai (3 RBI) and Smith powered Merrimack's 13-hit attack with three apiece.
Bentley (17-20, 7-11 NE10 Northeast) will close out the regular season this Friday and Saturday with a three-game home series with Saint Anselm College.