Offense, bullpen lead Bryant past LIU, 8-4

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Senior Jonathan Cohen (Norwalk, Conn.) and junior Trevor Lacosse (Watervliet, N.Y.) combined on four innings of scoreless relief to help lead the Bryant University baseball team to an 8-4 victory over LIU Brooklyn in the first game of a four-game series on Thursday afternoon at LIU Field.

The Bulldogs (23-10, 4-1 NEC) pounded out 13 hits and their two veteran lefty relievers held the league's most potent offense to just two hits over the final four innings. The Blackbirds fell to 18-13-1 and 5-4 in the league.

Handed a 7-4 lead in the sixth, Cohen and Lacosse preceded to blank the Blackbirds the rest of the way. Cohen retired the side in order in the sixth and struck out three before handing the ball to Lacosse with a runner on second and two outs in the eighth. Lacosse struck out Mark Hernandez swinging to end the inning and then fanned two more in a perfect ninth to close the door.

Trailing 3-1 after three innings, the Bulldogs rallied for five runs in their next two at-bats. First, they tied the game with two runs in the top of the fourth. Senior Tom Gavitt (North Stonington, Conn.) reached first on an error, went to second on a wild pitch, to third on a ground out and scored on a single from sophomore Dan Cellucci (Sudbury, Mass.). Cellucci would eventually reach third with one out and scored the tying run as LIU shortstop John Ziznewski threw high to first on a potential inning-ending double play ball.

Bryant went on to score three runs in the fifth to grab the lead. Junior Carl Anderson (Sudbury, Mass.) started the rally as he singled, stole second, took third on a fly out and scored as sophomore Robby Rinn (Warwick, R.I.) singled through a drawn-in infield. Gavitt then smacked a double into the left field corner to score Rinn all the way from first and sophomore Buck McCarthy (Saugus, Mass.) capped the rally with a sac fly to center.

Moments after LIU chipped into the lead with a single run in the bottom of the fifth, the Bulldogs answered with a run in the top of sixth. Junior Jordan Mountford (Guelph, Ont.) singled and freshman Matt Albanese (East Haddam, Conn.) doubled to start the inning and junior John Mullen (Walpole, Mass.) lofted a sac fly to center to score Mountford with the seventh run.

The Blackbirds erased an early 1-0 deficit with a single run in the second and two more in the third. Two hit batters and a single loaded the bases in the second and Josh McAllister hit a ground ball to deep short that the Bulldogs were unable to turn into an out to score the first run. In the third, a pair of walks put two runners on and a throwing error on a potential double play ball scored a run. Two batters later, Charlie Misiano singled down the left field line to make it 3-1 Blackbirds.

Junior Kevin McAvoy (Syracuse, N.Y.) allowed four runs on seven hits and struck out six over five innings to run his record to 6-1 on the year. The victory is his sixth-straight, the longest winning streak of his career.

Offensively, Cellucci finished 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, while Mountford (2-5, 2R), Albanese (2-5) and Gavitt (2-5, 2R) all finished with two hits.

The Bulldogs and Blackbirds continue their series on Friday with a doubleheader beginning at 1:00 p.m.

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