May 27, 2009
BRYANT BASEBALL FINISHES INAUGURAL DIVISION I SEASON WITH 32 WINS
SMITHFIELD, R.I.- After years of success at the Division II level, the Bryant University baseball team had to rise up to the challenge of Division I competition in 2009, and rise up they did to the tune of 32 wins, with an incredible 30 coming against DI teams. One of the most successful seasons of any Division I reclassifying team, head coach Jamie Pinzino led the squad to a record of 32-22 with a .593 winnings percentage, second behind Florida Gulf Coast for tops among reclassifying teams. Under the direction of Pinzino, the baseball program set a record for most wins in a three-year period, posting 110 victories between 2007 and 2009, which surpasses the old record of 99 wins between 2002 and 2004.
|Nick Campbell '10|
The Bulldogs played a grueling schedule that included 45 games on the road with just nine at home. Not only was the travel schedule brutal, but the squad also found themselves up against some of the best teams in the country including Virginia Tech, James Madison, Boston College, URI, Brown, Northeastern, Florida Atlantic, Monmouth and UConn. The team did not back down from any challenges, going 12-7 against New England Division I competition and was ranked in the top-5 in the region for most of the season, reaching as high as number two and finishing in fifth.
Bryant Team Rankings
- Finished with an RPI ranking of 116 of 306.
- Third among Division I reclassifying teams with .305 batting average
- First among reclassifying teams with 4.64 ERA, which also ranks 51st in the country
- Ranked third among reclassifying teams in runs scored per game with 6.6
Record by Conference
|Dan Lozeau '09|
America East: 3-0
Atlantic Sun: 0-2
Big South: 1-0
Great West: 2-2
Ivy League: 3-4
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference: 3-0
Northeast Conference: 6-2
Patriot League: 1-1
Sun Belt : 0-4
Final Regional Polls
- Finished ranked fifth in New England in NEIBA Poll
- Finished with a number three ranking according to Ping! Baseball
After starting the season with a pair of losses at Mercer that included some terrible weather and canceled flights, the Bulldogs took their annual spring break trip, playing 11 games in nine days while traveling to Delaware and Virginia. The team could not have asked for a better trip, going 9-2 in the stretch while picking up their first Division I win over Delaware State on March 7.
|Pat McKenna '09|
The trip was highlighted by a win over perennial ACC power, Virginia Tech, as the Bulldogs shocked the Hokies with a 7-5 victory. Jeff Vigurs (South Windsor, Conn.) and Jamie Skagerlind (Holden, Mass.) each hit two-run home runs in the victory, while Dan Lozeau (Pelham, N.H.) picked up the win on the mound. From there, Bryant went on to take two-out-of-three from both Richmond and defending Colonial Athletic Association champions, James Madison. Nick Campbell (Raynham, Mass.) started the 2009 season right where he left off in 2008, hitting .413 on the trip with eight RBI. Vigurs jump-started his tremendous offensive season, hitting .396 on the trip with four home runs and 26 RBI.
Vigurs finished the year with one of the best offensive seasons in the history of the program. He finished tops on the team with a .389 batting average, while driving in a team-best 70 RBI. Vigurs was also first on the team in doubles (23), slugging percentage (.645) and on-base percentage (.447). His 70 RBI was the second-most by a Bulldog in a single season and tied him for 23rd overall in the country. He also led all Division I reclassifying teams in batting average and RBI. Vigurs is ranked fourth all-time in career RBI with 135, just ahead of teammate, Campbell, who has 132.
Return to the
Bryant returned to the northeast and split a doubleheader with Holy Cross before facing another ACC foe in Boston College. It was the home opener for the Bulldogs, and the first Division I game held at the Bryant Baseball Complex. The Bulldogs pulled off another upset, knocking-off the Eagles 8-4 to improve to 2-0 against the ACC. Bryant rallied from down 5-2 in the fifth, scoring three times with two outs to knot the game at 5-5. Skagerlind gave the team the lead in the sixth with a sacrifice bunt and Pat McKenna (Orange, Conn.) tacked on some insurance in the seventh with a home run to help Bryant to the big win.
|Dylan Stone '10|
McKenna finished off one of the finest four-year careers that Bryant has ever seen. Since walking onto campus as a freshman, McKenna has been the starting shortstop for the Bulldogs, starting in all of Bryant's 223 games over the last four years which set the program record for both games started and games played. McKenna also finds himself atop the Bryant career charts in triples with 15 and walks with 113, while he sits third in runs scored with 154, fourth in doubles with 44, tied for fifth in home runs with 22 and tied for fourth in hits with 234. Defensively, McKenna has shown himself to be a solid defensive shortstop, setting the Bryant record for assists in a career with 801 while making just 89 career errors to give him a .928 career fielding percentage. McKenna had a career batting average of .289, including hitting .319 over his last three seasons. This season, he finished third on the team in hitting with a .338 average while leading the team in home runs (12) and runs scored (62).
|Jeff Vigurs '10|
Following the win over Boston College, the Bulldogs had their first test against a future Northeast Conference opponent, as they took on defending conference champion, Monmouth, in a four-game series in West Long Branch, N.J. Bryant was able to split the set, taking 5-1 and 2-1 decisions over the Hawks to move to 13-7 on the year. Kevin Cobb (Acton, Mass.) and Dan Lozeau (Pelham, N.H.) picked up wins on the mound, with Cobb throwing eight innings of one run ball and Lozeau going seven innings without allowing an earned run.
Bryant vs. the
Cobb stepped-up as the ace of the pitching staff, finishing the year with a perfect 7-0 record and the best winning percentage for pitchers among reclassifying teams. The senior won each of his first six starts, including picking-up Bryant's first Division I win over Delaware State. He struck out eight or more batters and three of his first six starts, finishing the year with a team-best 62 strikeouts. Cobb went 7-plus innings in nine of his 11 starts, giving up three earned runs or less nine times throughout the year. He threw a complete game in a win over Brown on April 30th, recording his 19th win of his career which puts him fourth on the all-time list. His 177 strikeouts puts him third all-time at Bryant, while his 240.2 innings pitched ranks him fifth.
Lozeau finished the year with a 6-2 record after going unbeaten over his first seven starts. The senior was 5-0 through his first seven starts of the season, highlighted by a win over Virginia Tech where he allowed four runs over 6.1 innings and struck out seven. Lozeau finished his career with 20 wins, placing him third all time while his 279.2 innings pitched is the second most for a Bulldog in a career.
Bryant would play its final series against an NEC opponent the very next weekend, as they swept Long Island in a four-game set to give the squad a 6-2 record against the Northeast Conference and 18-7 overall. Pat O'Connor (Mattapoisett, Mass.) helped lead the team to the sweep, going eight-for-15 in the series with four runs scored and one RBI. Vigurs drove in five runs and McKenna six to help Bryant offensively, while the starting pitchers won three-of-the four games. Mark Andrews (Hillsborough, N.J.) picked-up two more saves as the closer, as he continued his lights out season.
|Jamie Skagerlind '12|
Andrews finished the year with the most saves out of all Division I reclassifying teams with 10, which also would have tied him for 19th overall in the country, as he became just the third Bulldog all-time to record double-digit saves in a single season. After struggling in her first outing against Mercer, Andrews became a dominant closer, giving up just one run in his next 16.2 innings, spanning 14 appearances. In that stretch, the sophomore recorded nine saves and 15 strikeouts while allowing just 10 hits. He had saves against Richmond, Holy Cross, Boston College, Monmouth, Maine and Brown. Andrews finished the season with a 4.38 in 24.2 innings and 21 appearances, striking out 20 batters in the process.
Bryant vs. New
Bryant started its New England schedule by splitting a doubleheader at Holy Cross before upsetting Boston College and then knocking off in-state rival, University of Rhode Island. Bryant went on to sweep the Rams in two games for the season series, finishing 12-7 against New England Division I teams and 14-7 overall against teams in the New England region.
|Jordan English '11|
Campbell led the Bulldogs offensively against New England competition, hitting .450 with one home run and 12 RBI while scoring 16 runs in 80 at-bats. McKenna also came up big, hitting five home runs and driving in a team-best 17 runs while hitting .307. Vigurs and Jordan English (Windsor Locks, Conn.) each drove in 16 runs apiece, as Vigurs had 11 doubles in 19 games. Skagerlind, a freshman, also had success against the New England region, hitting .323 in 65 at-bats while hitting two home runs and knocking in 14 runs.
Eric Polvani (Wallingford, Conn.) was the top starting pitcher, going 4-0 with a 1.86 ERA in four starts against New England teams, allowing just six earned runs in 29 innings pitched. The junior led the team with a 2.04 ERA and eight wins in 12 appearances for the season. Polvani was nothing short of impressive, going six-plus innings in ten of his 11 starts, while holding opponents to two earned runs or less in 11 of his 12 appearances. His team-best 2.04 ERA ranked him seventh overall in the country and first among Division I reclassifying teams. Since being handed his second loss back on March 20, Polvani has been unstoppable, going 6-0 with one save in eight appearances while making seven starts. In that stretch, he has recorded a 1.33 ERA, allowing just eight earned runs in his last 54 innings pitched while striking out 42.
The Bulldogs went on to beat Maine, 9-3, and Brown, 4-3, at home before hitting the road to knock-off URI for the second time this season. Bryant then came back home to take down Harvard, 8-2, before losing to Brown, 8-6, on the road. The Bears one of only three New England team that the Bulldogs would end with a losing record against, going 2-3 against
|Pat O'Connor '09|
Brown on the year. Bryant would also have a losing record against UConn and Dartmouth, falling to each team in their lone match-ups this season. UConn would hand the Bulldogs their only home loss for the whole year, beating the black and gold, 17-5, on April 28. Bryant finished the year 8-1 at home.
Besides a big win over Boston College and sweeping the Rams, the Bulldogs highlighted their New England schedule with two-game sweeps over Northeastern and Vermont. Bryant traveled to Northeastern on April 14, taking an 8-4 win back to Smithfield. The Huskies came to Bryant on May 11 for the final home game of the year for the Bulldogs, playing one of the most thrilling games of the season at the Bryant Baseball Complex. Trailing 3-1 in the top of the ninth inning, Northeastern's Frank Pessanello hit a one-out, three-run home run to right field that put the Huskies on top 4-3.
But the Bulldogs would respond in the bottom of the inning, putting runners on second and third with two-out to set the stage for Vigurs. The junior hit a two-out, two-run single walk-off single to lift Bryant to the 5-4 win, giving the team 30 wins on the season. The hit was also the 200th of his career, making him the eighth Bulldog to reach the mark.
|Tim Norton '11|
On an individual level, Bryant seemed to hit milestone after milestone throughout the year. Three different players reached the 200-hit plateau in Campbell, McKenna and Vigurs. Campbell accomplished the feat first, hitting a double against Monmouth on March 20th. The junior was not done there, breaking the program's all-time hit record later in the season in dramatic fashion with a home run to left field against Wheaton on Senior Day. He now has 257 career hits with still one more year left to play.
McKenna, who is at the top of the list in many categories, also recorded his 200th hit during the season, while also breaking the all-time record for most starts and games played in a career. McKenna grabbed his 200th hit on April 5 against NYIT, hitting a single to right field. He then played in his program record 211th game on April 25th against LeMoyne, as he finished his career by playing and starting in all 223 games since coming in his freshman year. Vigurs reached the 200-hit mark in dramatic fashion, with the walk-off single against Northeastern on May 11, with other records on his radar going into his senior season.
The Bulldogs finished off their schedule with a sweep of Vermont before falling to Ivy League Champions, Dartmouth, to give the squad a final record of 32-22. Pinzino will look to replace six graduating seniors on the roster next season, including starting pitchers Foundas, Lozeau and Cobb to go along with McKenna, O'Connor and Jon Beauregard (New Bedford, Mass.). The squad has some tremendous success to build with 32 wins in their first Division I season, putting together one of the best years of any program at the school and in all of New England.