Bulldogs rally past CCSU, 5-3



NEW BRITAIN, Conn. – Sophomore Daniel St. George (Shelton, Conn.) broke a 3-3 tie with an eighth-inning double and senior right-hander Peter Kelich (Jackson, N.J.) won his 30th-career game as the Bryant University baseball team earned a 5-3 come-from-behind victory over Central Connecticut in the first game of a four-game series on Friday afternoon at the CCSU Baseball Field.

With the win, the Bulldogs (30-14-1, 17-4 NEC) have now won 30 games for the seventh-straight season. The Blue Devils (21-20, 10-11) saw their three-game winning streak come to a close.

After tying the game in the seventh, the Bulldogs grabbed their first lead of the game in the eighth. Sophomore John Mullen (Walpole, Mass.) started the rally with his third hit of the game, a single to right. Two batters later, St. George laced a two-strike pitch into the left field corner, scoring Mullen all the way from first to give the Black and Gold the lead.

Bryant added an insurance run in the top of the ninth inning. Sophomore Matt Zanotta (Schnectady, N.Y.) knocked a pinch-hit single to left to start the inning, advanced on a sac bunt, went to third on a ground out and scored on an infield single from freshman AJ Zarozny (Shrewsbury, Mass.).

CCSU jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a run in the second inning. Mike Washburn doubled to start the inning, moved to third on a sac bunt and came around to score as Nick Palmisano singled to the right side.

Zarozny wasted no time bringing the Bulldogs back even. With two outs and the bases clear, Zarozny belted the first pitch he saw over the wall in left field for his second home run of the year.

In a game that was back-and-forth throughout, the Blue Devils responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the third. Dylan DelaCruz led off with a single to center and moved to second on a sac bunt. CCSU then got back-to-back doubles from JP Sportman and Tyler McIntyre to make it 3-1.

After that, Kelich did his job on the mound and allowed the Bulldogs to chip away at the deficit. They started in the fourth as Mullen walked to start the inning and advanced to third on a single to left-center from St. George. Freshman Robby Rinn (Warwick, R.I.) then followed with a great at-bat, eventually grounding out to short to score Mullen from third.

Bryant finally erased the deficit in the seventh inning. Rinn led off the inning with a single through the right side and senior Adam Claire (Litchfield, Conn.) advanced him to second with sac bunt. The Blue Devils then brought in ace closer Josh Ingham but he issued a walk to freshman pinch-hitter Daniel Palazzo (Rocky Hill, Conn.). He then induced a fly ball to left for the second out but Rinn alertly tagged from second and advanced to third. It paid off as Zarozny followed with a ground ball to third that Washburn dove to stop along the line but he was unable to get Zarozny at first, allowing Rinn to score from third to tie the game.

Touched for three runs on six hits over the first three frames, Kelich was dominant over his final four innings, allowing just one baserunner. Connor Fitzsimons touched him for a two-out single in the fourth but was caught stealing to end the inning. Kelich didn't allow another runner, retiring the Blue Devils in order in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. He struck out the side in the first and in the sixth, finishing the afternoon with nine strikeouts, one shy of his career high. Kelich didn't issue a walk, improving his record to 7-3 this year and 30-10 in his career. Sophomore Trevor Lacosse (Watervliet, N.Y.) worked a scoreless eighth and senior Salvatore Lisanti (Bronx, N.Y.) earned his sixth save of the year with a scoreless ninth.

Offensively, Zarozny and Mullen each finished with three hits and Zarozny added three RBI. Senior Kevin Brown (Northborough, Mass.) was held hitless, seeing his on-base streak end at 29 games.

The Bulldogs and Blue Devils will continue their series on Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at 1:00 p.m.