Baseballs historic season comes to a close on Sunday
BRYANT'S HISTORIC SEASON ENDS WITH 12-3 LOSS TO ARKANSAS
MANHATTAN, Kansas – Senior Kevin Brown (Northborough, Mass.) homered but second-seeded Arkansas used three big innings to eliminate the third-seeded Bryant University baseball team, 12-3, on Sunday afternoon at the Manhattan Regional at Tointon Family Stadium.
The loss puts an end to one the greatest, and most historic, seasons in Bulldogs (45-18-1) history. Bryant set a school record and a Northeast Conference record for wins and became the first team in school history to win an NCAA Division I tournament game. The Razorbacks (39-21), who were defeated by the Bulldogs on Friday, advance to face top seed and host Kansas State on Sunday night in the Manhattan Regional championship.
"It was a great season and I am very proud of them," head coach Steve Owens said. "When we look back on this it's going to be an amazing accomplishment."
Sunday's rematch with Arkansas didn't go the way the Bulldogs wanted from the get-go. Limited to three hits on Friday, the Razorbacks were able to plate three runs in the first inning. A single and an infield error put two runners on base and Tyler Spoon made it 1-0 with an RBI single to left. After a walk loaded the bases, Michael Gunn and Jacob Mahan produced a pair of runs to make it 3-0.
The Razorbacks then added to their lead with four runs in the third. Back-to-back one-out singles and a hit batter loaded the bases before Brett McAfee dropped a two-run double just inside the left field line to make it 5-1. Arkansas scored its final two runs in the inning on a bases-loaded walk and a bases-loaded hit by pitch.
Bryant responded immediately in the bottom of the first, cutting into the Razorback lead with a run. After Arkansas starter Randall Fant retired the first two Bulldogs of the game, Brown cranked a solo home run off the scoreboard in right. The home run was the seventh of the season for Brown.
The Bulldogs, however, were stymied on several other occasions to get back in the game. Trailing 3-1 in the second, sophomore Carl Anderson (Sudbury, Mass.) and senior Adam Claire (Litchfield, Conn.) drew walks but Fant induced an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play to work out of the first-and-third jam. Bryant then put its first two runners on in the fourth but a fielder's choice and a 5-4-3 twin killing ended the threat.
Bryant inched closer with a single run in the sixth. Anderson singled to center with two outs, moved to second on a balk and scored on a two-out single from senior Dan Muscatello (Hopkinton, Mass.).
Arkansas responded to the run by putting the game away with five runs in the top of the seventh. Spoon delivered another RBI single and Mahan drove in a pair with a single to center as the Razorbacks ended the inning with a 12-2 lead.
Sophomore Kevin McAvoy (Syracuse, N.Y.) lasted just three innings, allowing seven runs (five earned) on seven hits. Classmate Trevor Lacosse (Watervliet, N.Y.) tossed two scoreless innings, senior Joseph Michaud (Milford, Conn.) allowed five runs (four earned) in two innings and redshirt-junior Vaughn Hayward (Glendale, R.I.) tossed a scoreless eighth. Freshman Kyle Wilcox (Sandy Hook, Conn.) was electric in a scoreless ninth, striking out two and topping 96 MPH on the radar gun.
Offensively, Anderson finished with two hits an RBI and a run scored. Brown's home run gave him 27 for his career and he finished tied with Jeff Vigurs for second on the all-time hits list with 277.