April 26, 2008
NO. 23 BRYANT COMBINES FOR 25 HITS TO TAKE PAIR OF SENIOR DAY WINS OVER AIC SATURDAY AFTERNOON
SMITHFIELD, RI - Offensive power in Game One turned into gutsy base running in the Saturday afternoon's nightcap, as the Bryant University baseball team used opposite strategies to take a pair of wins from American International College on Senior Day at the Bryant Baseball Complex, 11-0 and 2-1.
The Bulldogs (35-14, 22-5 Northeast-10 Conference) scored in five of their eight offensive frames in Game One, taking a pair of Yellow Jacket (7-18, 9-24) pitchers for 17 hits and crossing the plate 11 times in the early contest.
Bryant did the most damage in the first inning with four runs off four hits, highlighted by RBI hits from the hot-handed Nick Campbell (Raynham, Mass.), Jeff Vigurs (South Windor, Conn.) and Pat McKenna (Orange, Conn.), as well as a sacrifice fly from senior designated hitter Mark Dondero (Medfield, Mass.).
With a 4-0 cushion, hurler Dan Lozeau (Pelham, NH) toed the rubber for his tenth start of the 2008 season and tossed his most effective game of the year, striking out 11 Yellow Jackets while allowing just a trio of hits in seven full innings of work.
Lone runs in the second and fourth - compliments of RBI centerfield singles off the bats of Pat O'Connor (Mattapoisett, Mass.) and Campbell - brought Bryant's lead to 6-0, and the Bulldogs would take AIC starter Uchon Yi for another pair in the fifth before chasing him from the hill in favor of reliever Jake Collins.
Collins had little more success against the hot Bulldog offensive, giving up five more hits and three runs in three innings, all the scoring coming in the seventh frame.
Seven of the eight-member senior class made appearances in the shutout, with pitchers Luke Cowan (Houston, Tex.) and Ben Conn (Holden, Mass.) coming on in relief and infielder Grant Tonelli (Greenwood, Calif.) joining regular starters Jason Alexander (Simsbury, Conn.) , Dave Muscatello (Hopkinton, Mass.) and Dondero as the Bulldogs padded their lead to an 11-0 final. The final senior, ace pitcher Eric Loh (Old Greenwich, Conn.), will appear later this week in his normal slot of the starting rotation.
Lozeau moved to 5-2 with the win, tossing four straight 1-2-3 innings before being relieved by Cowan. Yi took the loss for AIC to go to 2-3 in his own senior campaign, striking out one and letting up eight runs on 12 hits in five innings.
But the Bryant bats wouldn't be as hot in the day's nightcap, as the Bulldogs took late-inning risks on the base paths that proved enough to get the 2-1 victory.
AIC got on the board first in the second game, touching Bulldog starter David O'Brien (Whitman, Mass.) for a single tally in the top of the fourth to take a 1-0 lead. From the cleanup spot, David Dest ripped an RBI double just fair down the right field line to bring home Jason Rustico, who led off the inning with a hit up the middle.
The Bulldogs wouldn't strike back until the home half of the seventh, when O'Connor knocked a leadoff double to left field and moved 90 feet from home on a sacrifice bunt from Vigurs.
A sharply hit single off the bat of McKenna hit the lip of the infield grass in front of AIC third baseman Dan Mooney, hopping into shallow left to plate O'Connor and knot the score at 1-1.
But small ball and gutsy base running on the part of the Bulldogs put the home team up, 2-1, in the bottom of the eighth. With one out, Alexander knocked a single into shallow centerfield before a successful hit-and-run with sophomore first baseman Dylan Stone (Portsmouth, RI) put runners on the corners for Campbell.
On a 1-1 offering from Nick Noblit, who went the distance for the Yellow Jackets, Alexander started for home as Campbell just managed to get a bunt down on the high fastball for a suicide squeeze to give Bryant the go-ahead run and, after a three-pitch 1-2-3 ninth from closer Eric Polvani (Wallingford, Conn.), the eventual 2-1 win.
O'Brien (6-0) allowed just four hits with six strikeouts in eight innings of work for the Bulldogs, while Polvani registered his eighth save of the season. Noblit fell to 0-7 on the year.
O'Connor led Bryant on the day, going 5-for-6 with four runs scored and an RBI. The junior transfer hit a double and a triple in the two-game effort. McKenna's 4-for-7 day included a pair of RBI and a run scored, while Campbell knocked in three on a 3-for-8 day with a run scored.
The Bulldogs next take the field when they make the return trip to Springfield, Mass. on Sunday, April 27 to finish off the three-game set with AIC. First pitch is 1:00 p.m.
GAME ONE: BRYANT 11, AIC 0
R H E
American Int'l...... 000 000 000 - 0 4 2
Bryant University... 410 120 30X - 11 17 2
Win - Lozeau (5-2). Loss - Yi (2-3). Save - None.
GAME TWO: BRYANT 2, AIC 1
Score by Innings R H E
American Int'l...... 000 100 000 - 1 4 0
Bryant University... 000 000 11X - 2 8 0
Win - O'Brien (6-0). Loss - Noblit (0-7). Save - Polvani (8).