BULLDOGS RALLY IN EIGHTH TO EARN TIE WITH HBU, 4-4
HOUSTON, Texas – The Bryant University baseball team rallied for two runs in the top of the eighth inning to earn a 4-4 tie with Houston Baptist in the series finale on Sunday afternoon at Husky Field.
With a curfew set for 3:00 p.m. CST due to the Bulldogs' (0-2-1) departing flight, the game ended in a 4-4 tie after eight innings. The Huskies, now 4-2-1 on the season, won by single runs on Friday and Saturday. The tie is the first in the Division I history of the Bulldogs.
An inning after leaving the bases loaded, the Bulldogs were able to knot the game in the eighth inning. Sophomore Daniel St. George (Shelton, Conn.) started the inning with his third hit of the game, a single to left, and freshmen Robby Rinn (Warwick, R.I.) and Daniel Palazzo (Rocky Hill, Conn.) each singled to load the bases with no outs. Houston Baptist summoned Jake Gonzalez and he promptly uncorked a wild pitch that made it 4-3. Pinch-hitter Carl Anderson (Sudbury, Mass.) then tied the game with a hard ground ball that eluded the Huskies shortstop. Bryant nearly took the lead but Nate Clements caught senior Dan Muscatello's (Hopkinton, Mass.) fly ball in left and threw out Palazzo at home to end the inning.
Senior Salvatore Lisanti (Bronx, N.Y.) preserved the tie by escaping a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the eighth. A single and an intentional walk put two runners on with one out before Lisanti recorded a strikeout for the second out. The inning continued, however, on a throwing error, loading the bases for Gonzalez. Lisanti buckled down, inducing a ground ball to third to end the game.
Trailing 3-2 in the seventh, Bryant had a chance to take the lead for the third-straight game. Junior Jonathan Scott (Princeton, N.J.) was hit by a pitch to start the inning, Muscatello walked and sophomore John Mullen (Walpole, Mass.) singled through the right side to load the bases with one out. HBU reliever Chad Valcoviak stranded the runners, however, with a strikeout and a fly ball to left.
HBU trailed 2-0 in the fifth but erased the lead with one swing of the bat. Sophomore Kevin McAvoy (Syracuse, N.Y.) hit consecutive batters to put runners on first and second and Gonzalez then drove a first-pitch fastball over the left-center field wall to make it 3-2.
After struggling to get going in the first two games of the series, the Bulldogs got on the board quickly Sunday, scoring a pair of runs in the first, all with two outs. Senior Kevin Brown (Northborough, Mass.) started the rally with an opposite-field double to the wall in left center and junior Tom Gavitt (North Stonington, Conn.) followed with a four-pitch walk. St. George then ripped a two-run double to the 400' sign in left center.
The pitch to Gonzalez was the only blemish on the day for McAvoy who was making his first start of the season. He worked five innings, allowing three runs on four hits while striking out four and issuing just two walks. Vaughn Hayward (Glendale, R.I.) entered in the sixth and worked a scoreless inning. Freshman Kyle Wilcox (Sandy Hook, Conn.) and Lisanti combined to allow one run in the seventh inning. A Samm Wiggins sac fly provided the run for the Huskies. St. George finished the afternoon with three hits, including a pair of doubles.
Bryant heads to Corvallis, Ore., next weekend to face sixth-ranked Oregon State in a four-game series.