BULLDOGS SWEEP MONMOUTH ON SATURDAY
SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Junior right-hander Craig Schlitter (Guilford, Conn.) threw a complete game shutout in game one and sophomore Jordan Mountford (Guelph, Ont.) delivered a walk-off single in game two as the Bryant University baseball team swept Monmouth, 9-0 and 4-3, on Saturday afternoon at Conaty Park.
With the wins, the Bulldogs (35-15-1, 22-5 NEC) increase their lead over the Hawks (29-20, 18-9) to four games for first place in the league standings. The 35 wins also mark the most by a Bryant team since moving to Division I.
Schlitter continued his dominance of league opponents as he shutout Monmouth on seven hits over seven innings. He issued one walk and struck out four to improve his record to 8-3 on the year. Schlitter is an even- better 6-0 with a 0.71 against NEC opponents.
On Saturday, Schlitter got help from his defense immediately as Monmouth's Jake Gronsky drove a pitch to the wall in right-center. The speedy leadoff hitter tried to extend it into a triple but sophomore Daniel St. George (Shelton, Conn.), who was making his first career start at second base, made a perfect relay throw to third to nab him. Schlitter hit his only real trouble in the fourth as the Hawks loaded the bases with one out on three singles. He responded by inducing a ground ball to first that freshman Robby Rinn (Warwick, R.I.) threw home to get the second out, and then a ground ball to short to end the frame. After that, he allowed just one runner the rest of the afternoon, a leadoff single in the sixth, retiring 11 of the final 12 batters he faced.
It was a pitcher's duel early but the Bulldogs were able to post their first run of the afternoon thanks to a defensive miscue by Monmouth. Rinn singled to lead off the third inning and scored three batters later as classmate AJ Zarozny's (Shrewsbury, Mass.) fly ball to left-center fell as the two outfielders collided.
Still clinging to that 1-0 lead in the fifth, the Black and Gold put the game away by sending 12 batters to the plate and scoring seven runs. Junior Tom Gavitt (North Stonington, Conn.) started the rally with a one-out double to right-center field. Mountford drilled the next pitch up the middle to score him to make it 2-0. A single and a walk loaded the bases for sophomore John Mullen (Walpole, Mass.) and he delivered a two-run double down the left field line. After a hit by pitch reloaded the bases, senior Dan Muscatello (Hopkinton, Mass.) ripped a two-run single through the right side to make it 6-0. St. George and Rinn followed with RBI singles to make it 8-0. Bryant finished its scoring with a single run in the sixth.
Muscatello finished with three hits and Zarozny and Rinn each chipped in two hits.
After Monmouth tied the game in the top of the seventh, Mountford delivered the heroics in the bottom of the seventh with a single through the left side that scored Rinn from second with the winning run.
Rinn almost didn't reach base as his ground ball to second appeared to be a routine out. As Gronsky waited for the final hop the ball took off and bounced over his head, allowing Rinn to reach safely. Freshman Daniel Palazzo (Rocky Hill, Conn.) followed with a pinch-hit single to center and Mountford delivered his second walk-off hit of the year to finish the sweep.
The rest of the scoring on the afternoon was thanks in part to two players, Bryant's Carl Anderson (Sudbury, Mass.) and Monmouth's Connor White. In the second, the Hawks put two runners in scoring position and White came through with a two-run double to left-center.
Those two runs stood for two more innings until the Bulldogs rallied in the fourth. Mountford started the inning with a single to center and Mullen kept the inning alive with a two-out double to left-center. Facing an 0-2 count, Anderson scored both with a single up the middle, tying the game at 2-2.
Anderson then gave Bryant the lead in the sixth. Mullen beat out an infield single with two outs and Anderson ripped the next pitch to the wall in right-center to score him from first and make it 3-2.
The Hawks, however, responded in the top of the seventh. Kyle Perry beat out a potential game-ending double play ball to keep the inning alive and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. White followed with a single to right field that Mountford charged and threw home. The ball, however, skipped away at home plate and Perry decided to take off from third and he was able to slide around the tag at home to tie the game.
Graduate student John Healy (Cranston, R.I.) tossed Bryant's second complete game of the afternoon as he moved his record to 7-1 on the year. He allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits and struck out four. After allowing a leadoff single in the fourth, Healy retired the next nine Hawks in order before he issued his only walk of the afternoon with one out in the seventh.
Mountford, Mullen and Anderson combined to go 6-for-10 with three runs and four RBI.
The Bulldogs will try to win their first series over the Hawks on Sunday when they meet in the series finale at 1:00 p.m. Prior to the game, Bryant will honor its seven-member Class of 2013.