SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The Bryant University baseball team raced out to a 5-0 lead but needed a Jonathan Cohen (Norwalk, Conn.) induced 1-2-3 inning-ending double play to survive visiting UMass Lowell, 5-4, and win its home opener on Tuesday afternoon at Conaty Park.
Meeting for the first time since 2009, the Bulldogs (11-8) earned their fifth-straight win over the RiverHawks (8-7).
Bryant led 5-0 after five innings and held UML hitless over the first 4.2 but the RiverHawks chipped away to make the game interesting. They scored three runs in the sixth and added one more in the eighth before Cohen shut the door. UML used four-straight hits to score its runs in the sixth inning as Matthew Sanchez singled home a pair and Jimmy Ricoy followed with an RBI single of his own to make it a 5-3 game.
In the eighth, the RiverHawks strung together three-straight hits to start the frame. Sanchez's RBI single to center made it 5-4 before a sac bunt and a walk loaded the bases for Luke Reynolds. Cohen was summoned to face the lefty swinging Reynolds and the senior induced a weak comebacker that he fielded and threw home to start an inning-ending 1-2-3 double play.
The Bulldogs scored all of their runs in the first four innings of the game. Sophomore Buck McCarthy (Saugus, Mass.) started a two-out rally in the second with a base knock and came around to score two batters later as junior Carl Anderson (Sudbury, Mass.) laced a single into center field.
Bryant added to its lead with two runs in the third and two more in the fourth. Junior Jordan Mountford (Guelph, Ont.) singled, freshman Matt Albanese (East Haddam, Conn.) walked and sophomore Robby Rinn (Warwick, R.I.) singled to push across the first run of the third. Senior Tom Gavitt (North Stonington, Conn.) followed with a sac fly to make it 3-0. In the fourth, junior John Mullen (Walpole, Mass.) continued his tear at the plate as he laced a two-run double to left field to make it 5-0.
Senior Vaughn Hayward (Glendale, R.I.) moved to 3-1 on the year as he allowed three runs on six hits over six innings. He struck out five and issued just one walk. Hayward retired the first seven batters of the game before hitting Jack Trotman with one out in the third but he induced a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning. His defense helped out again in the fifth as sophomore Dan Cellucci (Sudbury, Mass.) dove up the middle to field a ground ball and flipped it with his glove to freshman Brandon Bingel (Peabody, Mass.) to start a magnificent 6-4-3 double play. Hayward saw his scoreless inning streak end at 22.1 innings. The last of five pitchers on the afternoon, junior closer Trevor Lacosse (Watervliet, N.Y.) earned his fourth save of the season with a perfect ninth.
McCarthy (3-3, 2 runs) and Anderson (2-5, 1 RBI, 1 run) each finished with multiple hits for the Black and Gold. The three hits are a career-high for McCarthy.
The Bulldogs continue their six-game homestand on Friday, March 28 as they welcome Albany for the first of four games at Conaty Park. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.