Gritty Bulldogs rally past UConn, 5-3

Gritty Bulldogs rally past UConn, 5-3

NORWICH, Conn. – Freshman Brandon Bingel (Peabody, Mass.) tossed three scoreless innings of relief and sophomore Robby Rinn's (Warwick, R.I.) single in the top of the ninth broke a 3-3 tie and sent the Bryant University baseball team to a 5-3 victory over Connecticut in the final game of the College Baseball Classic on Sunday afternoon at Dodd Stadium.

The Bulldogs (18-9) trailed 1-0 and 3-2 before tying the game in the eighth and taking the lead for good in the top of the ninth. Bryant finished the three-day tournament with a 3-1 record, while the Huskies (13-16) lost all three of their games.

Hours after using a three-run seventh inning to defeat Stony Brook, the Bulldogs displayed their grittiness again as they tied the game in the eighth and took the lead in the ninth. In the eighth, Rinn drew a one-out walk and advanced to third as junior Daniel St. George (Shelton, Conn.) delivered a two-out pinch-hit single to right center. Sophomore Dan Cellucci (Sudbury, Mass.) was then hit by a pitch to load the bases and classmate Daniel Palazzo (Rocky Hill, Conn.) wore a 2-2 pitch to force in the tying run.

Bingel then went to work to keep the game tied in the bottom of the eighth. Blake Davey singled, went to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on a fly out to right. The rookie Bingel was unperturbed and responded by striking out the four-hole hitter Vinny Siena and getting a pop out to shallow left to strand the runner at third.

Freshman Matt Albanese (East Haddam, Conn.) opened the ninth with sharp single to left field and moved up a base as junior John Mullen (Walpole, Mass.) laced a single to center. Rinn then ripped the first pitch he saw into right field and Albanese slid into home just ahead of the tag to give the Bulldogs the lead. Sophomore Buck McCarthy (Saugus, Mass.) added an insurance run with a bloop single into right field. Bingel closed out his first-career victory in the bottom of the ninth, working around a one-out walk.

UConn grabbed the lead with a run a first inning. Davey walked, stole second and scored on a two-out infield error.

Held in check for the early part of the game, the Black and Gold grabbed the lead with two runs in the sixth. Carl Anderson (Sudbury, Mass.) and Mullen drew back-to-back walks to start the inning and advanced into scoring position on a pitch in the dirt. Two batters later McCarthy grounded out to second to score Anderson from third and tie the game at 1-1. Standing at third, Mullen alertly scampered home on a pitch in the dirt to give the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead.

Connecticut responded with two runs of its own in the bottom of the sixth to retake the lead. A fielder's choice and a walk put two runners on before a wild pitch advanced the runners into scoring position. A second wild pitch brought home Bryan Daniello from third and Davey caught the Bulldogs off guard as he raced all the way around from second to give the Huskies the lead.

The combination of sophomore Kyle Wilcox (Sandy Hook, Conn.) and Bingel limited the Huskies to three hits on the afternoon. Wilcox was outstanding over six innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on two hits. He walked four and struck out three. Bingel followed with three innings of one-hit relief, striking out two and walking two. Wilcox allowed a double in the second and didn't surrender another hit until a two-out single in the sixth. His defense helped him out as well with junior third baseman Matt Zanotta (Schenectady, N.Y.) snaring a ground ball and retiring the a runner trying to score in the second and then turning a line drive into a double play in the fifth.

Offensively, Anderson was the lone Bulldog to finish with multiple hits as he went 2-for-4 with a walk. Mullen scored a pair of runs, McCarthy drove in two and Rinn reached three times with a hit and two walks.

The Bulldogs return to the diamond on Wednesday, April 9 as they face in-state rival Rhode Island at Bill Beck Field in Kingston. First pitch is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.