Bulldogs open NEC play with 4-3 win over CCSU

Photo by: Tom O'Brien
Photo by: Tom O'Brien

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Junior Kevin McAvoy (Syracuse, N.Y.) tossed his third complete game of the year and sophomore Robby Rinn (Warwick, R.I.) drove in the eventual winning run in the seventh as the Bryant University baseball team opened Northeast Conference play with a 4-3 victory over Central Connecticut on Friday afternoon at Conaty Park.

The Bulldogs (20-9, 1-0 NEC) opened their fifth season of league play with their 10th-straight victory over the Blue Devils (10-10, 2-3). Bryant is now 5-0 at home on the year.

McAvoy (5-1) continued his stellar spring with his third complete game in four starts. He allowed three runs on eight hits, struck out eight and issued just one walk on the day. McAvoy struck out the first two batters of the game, retired seven-straight in the middle innings and used a key 5-4-3 double play to squelch a Blue Devil rally in the ninth.

A double and a bunt single put runners on the corners with no outs in the ninth but McAvoy got Nick Coro to hit into a 5-4-3 double play. After surrendering his only walk of the day, McAvoy struck out Connor Fitzsimons swinging to end the game.

CCSU got on the board first, plating a run in the top of the second. Josh Ingham singled, Dom Severino doubled and Fitzsimons grounded out to short to score the first run of the game.

Bryant quickly responded, taking the lead with two runs in the bottom of the second. Rinn singled through the right side to start the inning and junior Jordan Mountford (Guelph, Ont.) followed with a towering two-run home run to right center to make it 2-1.

The Bulldogs added to their lead in the third with a single run. Junior Carl Anderson (Sudbury, Mass.) reached on a fielder's choice with two outs and classmate John Mullen (Walpole, Mass.) scored him all the way from first as he swatted a double into the right field corner.

After CCSU trimmed the lead back to one with a Severino single in the seventh, the Bulldogs answered with a run in their half of the inning. Anderson beat out an infield single, stole second, advanced to third on a ground out and scored as Rinn flew out to the warning track in center.

Tom Coughlin suffered his second loss of the season for the Blue Devils, allowing four runs on five hits over seven innings. Mountford's second-inning home run snapped a string of 20.1 scoreless innings for the right-hander. Ingham and Severino each finished with three hits.

For Bryant, Anderson scored twice, Mountford drove in two and Rinn finished 1-for-1 after drawing a pair of walks. Fabio (BB, HBP) and freshman Brandon Bingel (Peabody, Mass.) (2 BBs) each reached twice.

The Bulldogs and Blue Devils continue their series on Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at 1:00 p.m.