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March 16, 2013

Ninth-inning rally pushes Bulldogs past Ohio State, 3-2, on Saturday

BULLDOGS CLAW OUT 3-2 WIN OVER BUCKEYES

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Bryant University baseball team broke a 2-2 tie with a single run in the top of the ninth as it earned a 3-2 victory over Ohio State on Saturday afternoon at Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium.

With the win, the Bulldogs (5-8-1) earned the program's first victory over a Big Ten member. The Buckeyes fell to 11-6 on the year.

With the game tied 2-2 in the top of the ninth inning, sophomore Matt Zanotta (Schenectady, N.Y.) started the game-winning rally with a pinch-hit walk. Freshman Robby Rinn (Warwick, R.I.) followed with a single up the middle and sophomore Carl Anderson (Sudbury, Mass.) loaded the bases with a sharp single to left. Classmate John Mullen (Walpole, Mass.) then grounded to short but the Buckeyes were unable to turn the double play, allowing freshman pinch-runner Dan Cellucci (Sudbury, Mass.) to score from third.

Closing out the victory, however, was not as easy as the Bulldogs would have hoped. Kirby Pellant started the inning with a perfect drag bunt for a single and moved to second on a sac bunt. The Bulldogs then called on senior closer Salvatore Lisanti (Bronx, N.Y.) to get the final two outs. Lisanti struck out the first batter he faced and then got some help from senior shortstop Dan Muscatello (Hopkinton, Mass.) to retire pinch-hitter Mike Carroll on a ground ball to deep short to end the game.

Bryant had chances to take the lead in the first two innings but came up empty-handed. They left a runner on third in the first and stranded two more in the second. Finally, in the third, senior Kevin Brown (Northborough, Mass.) gave Bryant its first lead of the series with a solo home run to right field on a 2-1 pitch. It was his first of the season and the 21st of his career.

The Bulldogs stretched their lead to two with some great team baseball in the fifth. Anderson nearly hit a home run of his own, but settled for a double as he lined a pitch off the top of the right field wall with one out. He then stole third and scored on the next pitch as Mullen grounded out to third.

Ohio State finally solved Bryant sophomore Kevin McAvoy (Syracuse, N.Y.) in the sixth, tying the game with a pair of runs. A four-pitch walk started the inning and Aaron Gretz followed with an RBI double to the wall in left field. McAvoy struck out the next batter to end his afternoon but Pellant greeted reliever John Healy (Cranston, R.I.) with a single up the middle to tie the game. Pellant was thrown out at second on the play and Healy got an infield pop up to end the inning.

Bryant had a chance to enlarge its lead in the sixth inning but stranded runners on second and third. Muscatello singled and sophomore Daniel St. George (Shelton, Conn.) walked on four pitches to put runners on first and second with one out. A ground out to first moved both runners up a base but reliever Brett McKinney was able to end the threat with a fly ball to right.

Outside of the sixth, McAvoy was dominant for the Black and Gold. He picked up a strikeout to strand two runners on base in the first and then worked around two-out walks in the second and third innings to keep Ohio State off the board. A 6-3 double play ball helped McAvoy in the fourth and he set the side down in order in the fifth with three ground outs.   

Anderson and Muscatello both had a pair of hits and Mullen drove in two runs to lead the Bulldogs offensively. Healy picked up his second win of the season with three scoreless innings and Lisanti earned his first save by recording the final two outs.

The Bulldogs and Buckeyes will play the rubber match of their series on Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 1:00 p.m.

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