The Mack Report

Baseball: Franklin Pierce 4, Merrimack 1

Joe Carnevale

Joe CarnevaleSophomore right-hander Joe Carnevale (East Providence, R.I.)tossed eight consecutive scoreless innings and struck out six, but a four-run first for No. 20 Franklin Pierce proved to be the difference, as the Merrimack baseball team dropped a 4-1 decision to the Ravens on Saturday afternoon at the Warrior Baseball Diamond.

Sitting in a three-way tie for fourth place in the Northeast Division, the Warriors (21-16, 7-8 NE Div.) mustered six hits against the first-place Ravens (28-13, 11-4), but aside from an early run in a third, the home side could not get much going in a classic pitchers’ duel that went in favor of the visitors.

“We played hard today,” head coach Jim Martin noted afterward. “Joe pitched welle nough to win. The first inning put us behind but we continued to battle. We need to execute better tomorrow in all aspects of the game.”

Carnevale lasted all nine frames, mixing and matching his pitches wonderfully to the tune of six strikeouts, but a trio of two-out base hits in the top of the first pushed the Ravens ahead by a 4-0 margin early. After that, the tall righty settled in and allowed three more hits the rest of the way.

But FPU starter Trevor Graham (7-1) was equally masterful, striking out a whopping 11 batters while limiting the Merrimack offense to a run on six hits over a complete game outing. The Warriors did not help their own cause with four stranded base runners, while the Ravens left six men on the base paths, as well.

Down by four in the third, center fielder Bobby Losanno (Peabody, Mass.) led off the inning with a double to center. That brought leadoff man Casey Cotter (North Hampton, N.H.) to the box, and moments later the senior ripped a hard-hit ball that deflected off the second baseman, allowing the speedy Losanno to score from second while cutting the deficit to three.

But from there on out, each pitcher locked in, not allowing much against each other through the remainder of the game. The Ravens finished 7-for-34 at the plate, while the Warriors went 6-for-32.

Merrimack and Franklin Pierce will round out the three-game weekend series with a doubleheader tomorrow (April 28). First pitch from North Andover is slated for 12 p.m.