SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The Bryant University baseball team erupted for 14 runs in the seventh inning on its way to a commanding 21-4 victory over USC Upstate in the series finale on Sunday afternoon at Harley Park.
With the victory, the Bulldogs (2-4) earned their first series win of the season as they took two of three from the Spartans (5-7). Bryant rapped out 27 hits, four home runs and had eight players record multi-hit performances.
Moments after seeing its 3-0 lead disappear, Bryant put together one of the biggest innings in program history. The Bulldogs sent 19 batters to the plate, scoring 14 runs on 15 hits to put the game away. Freshman Matt Albanese (East Haddam, Conn.) started the inning with a single and two batters later sophomore Robby Rinn (Warwick, R.I.) started a string of nine-straight hits with an RBI single to center. Daniel St. George (Shelton, Conn.) followed with an RBI triple and freshman Cole Fabio (Mahwah, N.J.) walloped his first-career home run to right center to make it 10-3. The Bulldogs would bat around again with Matt Zanotta (Schenectady, N.Y.) delivering a two-run single before Buck McCarthy (Saugus, Mass.) blasted a three-run home run – the first of his career – to left field to cap the scoring and make it 17-3 in favor of the Bulldogs.
Bryant would go on to score two runs in the eighth and ninth innings to close its scoring. Senior Jonathan Scott (Princeton, N.J.) delivered an RBI single and freshman Jacob Marotta (Bridgewater, Mass.) scored on a wild pitch after collecting his first career hit earlier in the inning. In the ninth, sophomore Mark Martin (Sauquoit, N.Y.) started things with his first-career hit and Rinn capped the scoring outburst with a two-run double to right center.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 3-0 lead with a pair of runs in the first and a single run in the fourth. Bryant used the long ball in the first as Albanese and sophomore AJ Zarozny (Shrewsbury, Mass.) hit back-to-back home runs. The home run was the first of Albanese's career. In the fourth, Zanotta singled to start the inning and would score on an RBI ground out from classmate Carl Anderson (Sudbury, Mass.).
Making his first-career start, sophomore Kyle Wilcox (Sandy Hook, Conn.) was dominant, blanking the Spartans on three hits over five innings. He walked two and struck out five but earned a no decision as USC Upstate rallied to tie the game in the sixth. Wilcox allowed a leadoff triple in the first but stranded the runner, and finished his outing with a strikeout to strand a runner at second in the fifth.
USC Upstate erased Bryant's three-run lead without the use of a hit in the sixth. Two walks, a hit batter and a wild pitch plated the first run and chased freshman reliever Jack Patterson (Suffield, Conn.) from the game. Senior Jonathan Cohen (Norwalk, Conn.) came in and induced a 6-4-3 double play that made it 3-2. A balk call would bring home the tying run before Cohen struck out Justin Allen to end the inning.
Albanese and Rinn both finished with a career-high four hits and Albanese also scored four times. Rinn drove in three runs, Zanotta had three hits, three RBI and three runs scored, Dan Cellucci (Sudbury, Mass.) reached base five times with three hits and two walks and McCarthy drove in four runs. Cohen (1-0) earned his first victory of the season with two scoreless innings and James Davitt (Wallingford, Conn.) tossed 1.1 scoreless innings to close the door.
The Bulldogs return to the diamond next Friday, March 7 when they begin their Spring Break trip with a three-game series against Radford.