GREENSBORO, N.C. – Senior Vaughn Hayward (Glendale, R.I.) tossed six shutout innings to lead the Bryant University baseball team to a 1-0 victory over North Carolina A&T on Tuesday night at War Memorial Stadium.
The Bulldogs (4-6) earned their first shutout victory of the season and handed the Aggies (6-8) their sixth-straight loss. The two teams will complete their series on Wednesday afternoon.
Tuesday's series opener proved to be a pitcher's duel as Hayward and A&T starter DarAmani Swift battled pitch-for-pitch. Both starters worked out of trouble to keep the game scoreless after four innings. Hayward put together his best start as a Bulldog, lasting six innings. He allowed a one-out single in the first but picked off the runner and proceeded to retire the next eight in a row before issuing a one-out walk in fourth. A single would follow but Hayward got a pair of fly balls to right to end the threat. Hayward worked out of another threat in the fifth as he was able to escape damage after the first two batters of the inning reached. Senior Tom Gavitt (North Stonington, Conn.) threw out a runner trying to steal third for the first out and Hayward got back-to-back ground balls to end the inning. He escaped one final jam in the sixth as he struck out Stefan Jordan swinging with runners on the corners.
Swift had to work out of trouble in the first inning as freshman Matt Albanese (East Haddam, Conn.) reached second on a throwing error and moved to third on an errant pickoff attempt. Swift ended the threat with a big strikeout. He then induced a 4-6-3 double play in the second and escaped trouble in the fourth as sophomore Robby Rinn (Warwick, R.I.) lined into a double play to the first baseman.
The Bulldogs were finally able to scratch a run across against Swift in the fifth inning. Junior John Mullen (Walpole, Mass.) laced a single to left and then stole second to put himself in scoring position. Gavitt followed by drilling a double into the left field corner to score Mullen for the only run of the game.
Following the stellar six-inning performance by Hayward, the Bulldogs handed the ball to sophomore right-hander Michael Marshall (Maynard, Mass.). He retired the Aggies in order in the seventh and struck out the first two in the eighth before allowing a single to center. Junior closer Trevor Lacosse (Watervliet, N.Y.) came on and got the Black and Gold out of the jam as he induced the Aggies best hitter, Luke Tendler, to pop up to second base. Lacosse then closed out the victory as he struck out Bo McMillan with the tying run on second base.
Hayward (1-1) tied the longest outing of his collegiate career with six shutout innings. He issued just one walk, allowed five hits and struck out five to earn the first victory in his Bulldog career. Lacosse earned his first save of the season. Six different Bulldogs collected a hit in the game, with Daniel St. George (Shelton, Conn.) and Albanese stretching their hitting streaks to seven games apiece.
The Bulldogs and Aggies will close out their mini two-game series on Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 4:00 p.m.