HAVERHILL, Mass – Saturday evening the AMCATS opened their Great Northeast Athletic Conference schedule against Johnson & Wales at Trinity Stadium in Haverhill, Mass. Game one was controlled by the Wildcats as the AMCATS were unable to string together any timely hits, falling 9-2. Game two was a different story as the seven inning game went 11 innings, but again, JWU left with the win and the conference sweep of the 'Cats after a 7-4 win in game two.
Anna Maria got six hits from the offense in game one, led by catcher Greg Gehring who had two hits in the game, one a double, the only extra base hit of the game for AMC. Designated hitter Justin Robbins went one-for-three at the plate and drove in a run. Shortstop Jake Crevier drove in the other run in the game for the AMCATS. Scoring the runs for the hosts were Mike Tourony and Noah Holland. Starter Colin Pipkin had a tough go, pitching 5.0 innings, allowing six of the Wildcats runs, all earned. He walked seven hitters and struck out two.
Johnson & Wales got a two-for0three game out of leadoff hitter Rob Ballinger. Ballinger also walked twice while driving in two runs and scoring two times. Designated hitter Edison Mercado added two hits in four at-bats. Mercado drove in two runs for the Wildcats. Vin Amalfitano scored two runs in an 0-for-two performance at the plate with two walks. Starting pitcher Keith Grant went the distance for the visitors, pitching seven innings, allowing six hits, both runs, which were earned. He walked one and struck out five AMCAT hitters.
The Wildcats struck in the top of the first, jumping out to a quick 1-0 lead with Ballinger scoring on a Mercado ground out to short. They added three more in the top of the second inning.
Sporting a 4-0 lead in the opening game of the GNAC schedule, the AMCATS finally answered back in the bottom of the fourth innings when Robbins singled, scoring Tourony, followed by a Sacrifice fly by Crevier which plated Holland.
With the score sitting at 4-2 in favor of the Wildcats, neither team would score again until the sixth. Unfortunately, JWU would control the game the rest of the way scoring four runs in the sixth and another in the seventh, which the 'Cats were unable to come back from, dropping the Conference opener 9-2.
Anna Maria produced nine hits in game two, three of which two of which came off of the bat of Kino Gray who came in to the game for an injured Adam Twitchell. Gray drove in a run and scored as well. Noah Holland added two hits for the 'Cats and walked once. Mike Tourony, Tanner Jakola and Danny Grammel drove in the other three Anna Maria runs in the game, which were scored by Jakola, Anthony Checo and Nick Genatossio. Starter Jack Marzec pitched 8.0 innings in the 11-inning thriller, allowing eight hits, three runs and he struck out eight hitters.
The Wildcats had 13 hits in the game, getting four of those hits from Raimiel Ramirez. Ramirez had a four-for-six game, that included a triple, with three RBI. Third baseman Joe Maracic had three hits in the game in five at-bats and drove in two runs. Catcher Edison Mercado had the other multi-hit game for the Wildcats, going two-for-five in the game with a double, while also scoring a run. Starter James Smiegocki threw 6.1 innings, allowing six hits, three runs, all earned, and struck out seven hitters.
Much like Game one, the Wildcats took an early lead, this time in the second, opening up a 2-0 lead on a Maracic single and a Amalfitan ground out.
The AMCATS would answer in the bottom of the third inning on Genatossio and Tourony singles, scoring Jakola and Genatossio. With the score 2-2 after three, the teams were in a stalemate until the sixth.
In the top of the sixth, Johnson & Wales would take the lead back on a Maracic single, scoring Mercado. The AMCATS were unable to answer in the bottom of the sixth but, in the bottom of the seventh, would tie the game back up at three apiece on a Gray single, scoring Checo. The 'Cats were unable to win the game in regulation, sending the game in to extra innings.
The offenses ran dry, for the most part for the next couple of innings. The 'Cats almost won the game on a suicide squeeze in the eighth but it was foiled when Grammel was unable to get the high fast ball down and Trevor Brown was subsequently tagged out at home.
In the 10th inning, the Wildcats broke the tie when Ramirez tripled to the left center, driving in a run to give his team a 4-3 lead. The AMCATS weren't going to roll over just yet. In the bottom of the inning they would tie the game once again on a sacrifice fly of the bat of Grammel, scoring Gray. The game, now 4-4, was heading to the 11th inning.
In the 11th, JWU came alive, scoring three runs to take a 7-4 lead. That lead would prove to be insurmountable with the AMCATS going down in order in the bottom half of the inning, sealing a 7-4 extra inning win and a sweep of the AMCATS for Johnson & Wales.
The AMCATS are back at it tomorrow afternoon in conference against Norwich University in a double header that will begin at 3:30pm at Clark University in Worcester, Mass.