BULLDOGS SWEEP DAYTON ON SATURDAY
DAYTON, Ohio – Sophomore John Mullen (Walpole, Mass.) broke a 2-2 tie in the 11th inning with a double to left-center to lead the Bryant University baseball team to a 3-2 victory over Dayton in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at Woerner Field. Graduate student John Healy (Cranston, R.I.) struck out nine over 7.1 innings as the Bulldogs completed the sweep with a 3-1 victory in the nightcap.
The Bulldogs (3-6-1) have now won three-straight games to start their spring trip. The meeting was the first between the Black and Gold and the Flyers (3-7-1).
With the game tied at 2-2 in the top of the 11th inning, the Bulldogs were able to put together the game-winning rally. Senior Adam Claire (Litchfield, Conn.) worked a leadoff walk and moved to second on a sac bunt from freshman Dan Cellucci (Sudbury, Mass.). After sophomore Jordan Mountford (Guelph, Ont.) was hit by a pitch, Mullen doubled to the wall in left-center, scoring Claire from second with the eventual winning run.
Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth, the Flyers tied the game off of Bryant senior closer Salvatore Lisanti (Bronx, N.Y.). Robby Sunderman led off the frame with a solo home run to right, tying the game at 2-2. Lisanti, however, shut down Dayton after that, allowing his team to score the decisive run in the top of the 11th.
A day after recording season highs in runs and hits against Wright State, the Bulldogs found themselves in a pitcher's duel with Dayton. Both starters, Bryant's Kevin McAvoy (Syracuse, N.Y.) and Dayton's Parker Schrage, kept the offense off balance, keeping the game scoreless over the first four innings.
In fact, Schrage retired the first 12 Bulldogs he faced before senior Dan Muscatello (Hopkinton, Mass.) snuck a leadoff single up the middle to start the fifth. Sophomore Carl Anderson (Sudbury, Mass.) was then hit by a pitch and classmate Daniel St. George (Shelton, Conn.) advanced both with a sac bunt. Freshman Robby Rinn (Warwick, R.I.) finally produced the first run with a ground out to first, scoring Muscatello. Bryant would engineer another run in the inning on the basepaths. Claire walked to put runners on the corners and then took off for second. The Flyers threw to second and Anderson immediately broke from third, sliding in safely before Claire was tagged out to end the inning.
The Flyers responded immediately in the bottom of the fifth. Ian Hundley drew a one-out walk and Nick Weybright followed with a single down the left field line to put runners on second and third. Jared Boughton hit the very next pitch to left for a sac fly, scoring Hundley. McAvoy got out of the inning without allowing another run as he induced a ground ball to first base.
Following the hiccup in the fifth, both pitchers went back to work in the sixth. Both retired the side in order. Starting in the sixth, Schrage set down nine of the next 10 Bulldogs he faced. McAvoy, however, hit trouble in the seventh. He bobbled a tapper in the front of the mound to allow the leadoff runner to reach and then was relieved after a sac bunt. Classmate Trevor Lacosse (Watervliet, N.Y.) was summoned and was able to work out of trouble. He walked the first batter he faced to put two runners on but then struck out the next batter and induced an inning-ending ground ball to first.
The national leader in stolen bases a season ago, the Flyers were never able to establish the running game against the Bulldogs. Hundley led off the game with a single but McAvoy promptly picked him off. The Flyers then ran into an out at third base as Mountford threw out Weybright trying to take third on a hit down the left field line.
Bryant managed just four hits on the afternoon with Mullen collecting two and Muscatello and Anderson adding the others. On the mound, McAvoy allowed just one run on six hits and struck out three over 6.1 innings. Lacosse struck out three in 1.2 innings of relief and Lisanti earned his first win, allowing one run on two hits over three innings.
In another pitcher's duel, the Black and Gold rode Healy's left arm and got some timely two-out hits to defeat Dayton, 3-1, and earn a sweep of the doubleheader.
Unlike game one, the Flyers were the first team to find the scoreboard. Kevin Colburn doubled to right-center to start the inning, moved to third on a ground out and scored the first run of the game on a Sunderman ground out to second.
Bryant didn't trail for long, tying the game in its very next at-bat. Sophomore Matt Zanotta (Schenectady, N.Y.) started the rally with a one-out single, Cellucci walked and Mountford singled to load the bases. After a pop up to the pitcher, Brown tied the game with a two-out single that was knocked down by a diving second baseman but no play could be made.
The Bulldogs threatened in each of the subsequent innings but could not break the deadlock until the sixth inning. Junior Tom Gavitt (North Stonington, Conn.) started the inning with an infield single and moved to second on a ground ball to the right side. Following a walk and a fly out, Cellucci came through with a clutch two-out single through the left side to score Gavitt and give Bryant a 2-1 lead. The RBI was the first of his career.
Bryant tacked on an insurance run in its final at-bat of the night, making it 3-1. Mountford singled, Mullen was hit by a pitch and Brown walked on four pitches to load the bases with no outs. A fielder's choice followed before Gavitt lined the first pitch he saw to left for a sac fly, scoring Mountford from third for the third run of the game.
Healy did the rest for the Black and Gold. Making his first start of the season, Healy left a runner at third with back-to-back strikeouts in the first, picked off a runner and struck out two in a scoreless third, left a runner at third with a strikeout in the fifth and struck out two in a perfect sixth. The Flyers finally chased him in the eighth after putting the tying run in scoring position with one out. The Bulldogs called on junior Vaughn Hayward (Glendale, R.I.) and he worked out of trouble, getting a strikeout before ending the inning with a fly ball to right to leave the bases loaded.
Brown reached base four times with three hits and a walk, Mountford had two hits and Gavitt added an RBI and a run scored. Zanotta also reached base three times, recording a hit and getting hit twice. The win is the first for Healy in a Bulldog uniform and the 18th of his collegiate career. Hayward earned his first save of the season with 1.2 scoreless innings. He struck out two.
The Bulldogs finish their string of games in Dayton on Sunday when they head back to Wright State for a noon first pitch.