Baseball takes series from Hawks

BULLDOGS DEFEAT HAWKS, 7-3, ON SENIOR DAY

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Senior Kevin Brown (Northborough, Mass.) doubled and homered to help the Bryant University baseball team earn a 7-3 victory over Monmouth on Sunday afternoon at Conaty Park.

With the victory, the Bulldogs (36-15-1, 23-5) earned a series victory over the Hawks (29-21, 18-10) for the first time in five all-time meetings. Bryant also wrapped up at least a share of its third Northeast Conference regular-season title and finished with a 20-3 record at home.

The start to Sunday's finale made it seem like it would be a battle of the bullpens. Steve Wilgus led off the game with a bouncer up the middle that he beat out for an infield single and Kyle Perry followed with a double down the left field line. A passed ball scored the first run and a double play ground ball scored the second to give Monmouth a quick 2-0 lead.

Bryant responded immediately, tallying two runs in the bottom of the first. Sophomore Jordan Mountford (Guelph, Ont.) led off the game with a double into the right field corner and freshman AJ Zarozny (Shrewsbury, Mass.) followed with an RBI single to right-center. The ball was misplayed in right, allowing Zarozny to go all the way to third, and he would score two batters later as sophomore John Mullen (Walpole, Mass.) laced a single to center.

The Bulldogs took the lead for good with two more runs in the third inning. Mountford reached on a dropped pop up and Brown was hit by a pitch to put two runners on. Following a fielder's choice, sophomore Carl Anderson (Sudbury, Mass.) delivered a two-out single up the middle to make it 3-2. Senior Dan Muscatello (Hopkinton, Mass.) followed with an RBI single of his own to push the lead to 4-2.

Monmouth was able to pull within one in the fourth but would not get any closer. Jon Guida scored Joe Bamford with a two-out double in the fourth but sophomore Kevin McAvoy (Syracuse, N.Y.) responded by blanking the Hawks over the next two innings. He worked around a two-out walk in the fifth and then got some help from Muscatello up the middle to end the sixth with a 6-3 double play. Senior Joe Michaud (Milford, Conn.) took over in the seventh and earned his first career save with three scoreless innings. It was Muscatello in the seventh, however, that helped him preserve the lead as he threw out Perry by a step at first.

Bryant put the game away with three runs over its final two at-bats. In the seventh, Mullen legged out an infield single and advanced to second as the throw sailed high. Three batters later, freshman Robby Rinn (Warwick, R.I.) scored him with a two-out single up the middle. In the eighth, Zarozny singled with two outs and Brown walloped a two-run home run over the right field wall to cap his home career in style.

In six innings, McAvoy allowed three runs on six hits and improved to 5-2 on the year. Offensively, Bryant's top four hitters – Mountford, Zarozny, Brown and Mullen – combined for seven hits, four RBI and all seven runs scored. Rinn also chipped in a pair of hits.

Prior to the game, the Bulldogs honored their seven-member class of 2013 – Brown, Muscatello, Michaud, Salvatore Lisanti, Peter Kelich, Adam Claire and John Healy – with a pregame ceremony.

The Bulldogs will now travel to Staten Island to wrap up the regular season against Wagner. The series begins on Thursday, May 16 with a 3:00 p.m. first pitch.

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