Bulldogs advance to NEC championship round
BASEBALL TO PLAY FOR NEC TITLE
LAKEWOOD, N.J. – The Bryant University baseball team pounded out 17 hits and cruised to a 16-1 victory over LIU Brooklyn to keep its season alive on Saturday afternoon at FirstEnergy Park.
With the victory, the Bulldogs (42-16-1) advance to play in the Northeast Conference championship round for the first time in program history. They will face No. 2 Sacred Heart at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday and will need to defeat the Pioneers twice to claim the tournament title. Bryant also set the NEC record for victories in a season with its 42nd triumph. The Blackbirds (21-33-1) season comes to a close.
After posting 11 runs to eliminate Monmouth on Friday, Bryant's offense continued to steamroll along as it scored 16 more against the Blackbirds. It started with three runs in the Bulldogs' first at-bat of the afternoon. Sophomore Jordan Mountford (Guelph, Ont.) walked and freshman AJ Zarozny (Shrewsbury, Mass.) was hit by a pitch to start the game and sophomore John Mullen (Walpole, Mass.) plated the first run of the game with a ground out to third. A throwing error on sophomore Carl Anderson's (Sudbury, Mass.) ground ball allowed a second run to score and senior Dan Muscatello (Hopkinton, Mass.) followed with an RBI single to right to make it 3-0.
The onslaught continued from there as the Black and Gold scored runs in each of the first six innings. Junior Jonathan Scott (Princeton, N.J.) walked to start the inning, Mountford singled and Zarozny reached on an error to load the bases with no outs. A fielder's choice and a pop up recorded the first two outs and a ground ball to short appeared to end the inning but senior Kevin Brown (Northborough, Mass.) hustled into second and beat the foot of the shortstop, allowing a run to score. Muscatello made the hustle pay off as he followed by lacing a two-run single to left-center to make it 6-0.
In the third, sophomore Daniel St. George (Shelton, Conn.) singled to start the inning and scored two batters later on an infield error to make it 7-0. In the fourth, the Bulldogs loaded the bases with one out before St. George singled home a run and Scott drove in another with a sac fly. Mountford then followed with a two-run double off the wall in right-center and Brown's RBI single to right turned into two runs as the throw from right sailed past third base. Scott's second sac fly of the game scored a run in the fifth and freshman Robby Rinn (Warwick, R.I.) scored two with a double off the top of the right field wall in the sixth to make it 16-0.
Graduate student John Healy (Cranston, R.I.) was the recipient of the offensive surge as he earned his ninth victory of the season with eight innings of one-run ball. Healy allowed one run on just three hits and struck out four. He got a double play ball to end the third inning to start a string of seven-straight hitters set down before an Albert Faz double started the sixth. Back-to-back fly balls scored LIU's only run and Healy closed out his afternoon by allowing just a one-out single in the seventh. Freshman Kyle Wilcox (Sandy Hook, Conn.) closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.
Offensively, Anderson led the way with three hits and a career-high four runs scored and Muscatello had three hits and three RBI. Mountford also chipped in two hits, drove in two and scored three runs, and Zarozny also crossed the plate three times. St. George finished with three hits as well and Scott drove in two runs without recording an official at-bat.