WEST HAVEN, Conn. — Lawrence’s Junior Vasquez allowed just four hits and two runs and struck out seven over six innings as Merrimack baseball rallied for a 4-3, elimination game victory over Le Moyne in their second such do-or-die game yesterday.
Trailing by two runs after three innings, Merrimack scored a run in the fourth before and a game-deciding three-run fifth highlighted by a two-RBI triple off the bat of Northeast-10 Conference Player of the Year Casey Cotter.
Now just one win why of the school-record 30 victories set back in the mid-90s, Merrimack (29-18) will now aim for its for its first Northeast-10 Championship crown since 1996 when it takes on undefeated New Haven today. The Warriors must win back-to-back games against the host Chargers.
Trailing by a run in the fifth, Sean O’Neill doubled, Pat Florence singled and Cotter followed with a two-RBI triple.
He then scored on a single by Mike Forgione.
After the Warriors rallied in the fifth, Vasquez worked a perfect fifth before finding himself in a jam in the sixth with runners at second and third. But the former Lancer induced an inning-ending fly ball to left.
Merrimack also had to win the early game, taking a 3-2 morning victory over Bentley.
Leading by just one run in the top of the seventh, Merrimack tacked on an insurance run on a two-out RBI single by Pat Florence.
After two scoreless innings, Merrimack broke the deadlock with two in the top of the third when Mike Forgione drove home two with an RBI single.
Haverhill’s Jonathan Delacruz homered to spark a sixth-inning rally as Northern Essex downed Bunker Hill 6-5 in the first round of the Region XXI tournament. Delacruz’s homer was the first of three runs as the Knights took control.
Chris Martin came out of the bullpen with 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief to lock down the victory.
NECC will face Massasoit today at 11 a.m.