BULLDOGS SWEEP DH FROM KNIGHTS, 9-1 and 8-4
TEANECK, N.J. – Senior right-hander Peter Kelich (Jackson, N.J.) tied the all-time program record with his 26th career victory and classmate Dan Muscatello (Hopkinton, Mass.) hit his first career home run and drove in four runs in the Bryant University baseball's 9-1 victory over Fairleigh Dickinson in game one of a doubleheader on Friday afternoon at Naimoli Family Baseball Complex. Senior Kevin Brown (Northborough, Mass.) drove in a career-high five runs to lead the Bulldogs to an 8-4 victory in game two.
The victories are the 11th and 12th in 14 meetings for the Bulldogs (12-9-1, 6-0 NEC) over the Knights (3-15, 0-6). Bryant has now won seven-straight and are 6-0 in NEC play for the first time in program history.
One of the greatest pitchers in program history, Kelich moved one step closer to cementing himself in that category allowing just one run on six hits over seven innings. He walked one and struck out five to tie Mike Florest for the all-time Bryant record with 26 career victories. After allowing a run in the first, Kelich shutout the Knights over his final six innings to earn his third win of the season. He left runners on second and third with a strikeout and a fly out in the second starting a string in which he retired 17 of the final 20 Knights he faced.
For the fourth-straight game, the Bulldogs were able to score in their first at-bat. Sophomore Jordan Mountford (Guelph, Ont.) started the game with a double inside the bag at first and scored three batters later as classmate John Mullen (Walpole, Mass.) scored him with a double of his own to right. Muscatello put an exclamation point on the inning as he drove a 3-1 pitch from FDU starter Craig Warner over the wall in right field for a three-run home run.
Bryant added to its lead in the very next inning, plating a pair of runs. Senior Adam Claire (Litchfield, Conn.) singled to start the inning before a pair of walks loaded the bases with one out. A fielder's choice ground ball from Mullen retired Claire at the plate but sophomore Carl Anderson (Sudbury, Mass.) and Muscatello drew back-to-back walks to force in two runs, making it 6-1.
The Bulldogs closed their scoring with a single run in the fifth and two in the ninth. In the fifth, freshman Robby Rinn (Warwick, R.I.) reached on an infield single with one out and Mountford then hit what appeared to be a two-run home run to right field. It was ruled foul, however, and Mountford eventually drew a walk. Freshman AJ Zarozny (Shrewsbury, Mass.) then greeted reliever Ryan McGrath with an RBI single to left to score Rinn and make it 7-1. In the ninth, sophomore Daniel St. George (Shelton, Conn.) walked to start the inning and Brown belted a two-run home run to right-center to make it 9-1. The home run was his third of the season and his second in as many games.
Brown was 1-for-1 but reached base five times with four walks and a hit by pitch. He has now reached base in 14 consecutive at-bats dating back to Sunday's series finale with Mount St. Mary's. Anderson was the only other Bulldog with multiple hits and Mountford scored two runs. Junior Jonathan Cohen (Norwalk, Conn.) and freshman Kyle Wilcox (Sandy Hook, Conn.) each threw a scoreless inning of relief to close out the victory.
The Bulldogs scored five runs over the first two innings and Brown extended his consecutive on-base streak to 16 before having it snapped in Bryant's game two win.
Entering the game having reached safely in each of his last 14 plate appearances, Brown extended the streak to 15 with an RBI single in the first. He pushed it to 16 in the second with a towering three-run home run down the right field line. The streak finally came to a close in the fourth as he scored Mountford with a sac fly to right field. At 16 at-bats, Brown fell just two shy of tying the NCAA DI record of 18 that was first set in 2002 by Cal State Northridge's Shaun Larkin and matched last season by Utah Valley's Jake Rickenbach.
Bryant scored in the first inning for the fifth-straight game, plating a pair of runs. Zarozny doubled with one out and scored on Brown's RBI single, and Anderson made it 2-0 with a sac fly.
The lead bulged to five in the second thanks to Brown. Mountford ripped a two-out double to left-center, Zarozny walked and Brown brought both runners home by sending a 1-2 pitch just inside the right field foul pole for his second home run of the afternoon and fourth of the season.
Bryant finished its scoring with a pair of runs in the fourth and a single run in the fifth. Freshman Dan Cellucci (Sudbury, Mass.) doubled down the left field line to start the inning and Mountford was hit by a pitch. A double-steal put both runners in scoring position and Zarozny and Brown hit consecutive sac flies to make the score 7-2. In the fifth, Rinn, junior Jonathan Scott (Princeton,N.J.) and Cellucci collected consecutive two-out singles, with Cellucci's scoring Rinn from third to make it 8-3.
FDU scored two runs in the third and a single run in the fourth. Jordan Ritz doubled with one out and Ryan MacDonald walked to put two runners on base. Riley Moonan and Kyle Weeks followed with consecutive singles, scoring Ritz and MacDonald, to make it 5-2. Bryant starting pitcher Kevin McAvoy (Syracuse, N.Y.) avoided further damage as he induced an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play. In the fourth, Ryan McGrath singled to center, advanced to second on an outfield error and scored on an errant throw to first on a possible double play ball.
McAvoy was dominant other than that, allowing four runs (three earned) on nine hits over 5.1 innings. He struck out four and issued two walks. McAvoy struck out a pair in a 1-2-3 first, induced an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play in the second and was lifted with one out and the bases loaded in the sixth. Senior closer Salvatore Lisanti (Bronx, N.Y.) came on in relief and got the final five outs to record his third save of the season. A fielder's choice ground ball allowed one run to score in the sixth but Lisanti ended the inning with a ground ball. In the seventh, the Knights loaded the bases with one out but Lisanti got a strikeout and a ground out to end the game.
Brown went 2-for-2 with two runs scored and a career-high five RBI to lead the Bulldogs offensively. Mountford and Zarozny each scored two runs and Cellucci posted his first-career multi-hit game.
The Bulldogs and the Knights will finish their series with another doubleheader on Saturday starting at noon. A seven-inning game will precede a nine-inning contest.