BULLDOGS SWEPT BY NO. 5 OREGON STATE
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Senior Kevin Brown (Northborough, Mass.) collected three hits but the Bryant University baseball dropped the first game of its doubleheader with fifth-ranked Oregon State, 7-2, on Saturday afternoon at Goss Stadium. In the nightcap, Bryant put the tying runs on base in the ninth inning but fell, 3-1.
The losses puts the Bulldogs at 0-5-1 on the year. The Beavers improved to 11-0 with the victory and the two teams will finish their four-game series on Sunday afternoon.
Leading 3-2 after four innings, Oregon State put the game away with two runs in each of the fifth and seventh innings. In the fifth, Andy Peterson was hit by a pitch and two batters later, Michael Conforto belted his first home run of the year, a two-run shot to right field, to give the Beavers a 5-2 lead. In the seventh, Conforto capped a string of three-consecutive hits with a single to center to make it 6-2 and Jerad Casper eventually worked a bases-loaded walk to make it 7-2.
After producing just three runs in 10 innings in the series opener on Friday, Bryant and Oregon State combined for four runs in the first inning alone in game one on Saturday. Both teams used fielding miscues to get on the board as well. Dan Muscatello (Hopkinton, Mass.) reached on an infield error to start the game and eventually scored on an opposite field single from John Mullen (Walpole, Mass.).
The Beavers quickly responded in the bottom of the first, plating three runs. Peterson singled to start the inning, moved to second on a misplayed bunt and then scored the tying run on a Conforto single to right that was bobbled. Dylan Davis followed with the big hit in the inning, drilling a two-run double to right-center to make it 3-1.
Bryant scored its other run in the top of the third inning, cutting the Beavers lead in half. Brown ripped a one-out single, Mullen was hit and both advanced on a passed ball. Jordan Mountford (Guelph, Ont.) followed with a ground ball to second to score Brown and make it 3-2.
That was it for the Bulldogs offense, however. Oregon State starter Dan Child was lights out after the third, retiring eight-straight Bulldogs before hitting Mullen to start the sixth. He worked around that to record the next three outs and then got lucky in the seventh as a Muscatello line drive destined for center turned into a line-drive double play to end the seventh. Child gave up two unearned runs on three hits and struck out five in seven innings.
Outside of the first and fifth innings, Bryant starter Craig Schlitter (Guilford, Conn.) pitched well. He halted the damage in the first by retiring the final three batters, set down the side in order in the second and worked around two-out single in the third to retire the Beavers. Schlitter finished his night with a 1-2-3 sixth. He struck out three, eclipsing 100 strikeouts in his career, and didn't walk a batter. Jonathan Cohen (Norwalk, Conn.), Vaughn Hayward (Glendale, R.I.) and Kyle Wilcox (Sandy Hook, Conn.) combined to finish out the game for the Black and Gold.
A night after recording his 200th career hit, Brown produced three of Bryant's four hits on the afternoon. Conforto finished with three hits and three RBI for the Beavers. Tony Bryant pitched two scoreless innings to finish out the game.
In game two, Bryant put the tying runs on base in the top of the ninth but could not complete the comeback, falling 3-1 to the Beavers.
St. George reached on an error to start the ninth and Brown followed with a single up the middle. Max Engelbrekt was summoned from the bullpen and got a strikeout for the first out. Mullen then singled through the left side to score St. George and make it 3-1. Engelbrekt, however, struck out the next two batters to end the game.
Kevin McAvoy (Syracuse, N.Y.) and OSU starter Andrew Moore locked in a pitcher's duel for most of the game. Moore continued the Beavers dominant starting pitching with eight innings of one-run ball. After giving up a two-run home run in the first inning, McAvoy matched Moore's zeros for a majority of the game.
Like his first start of the year, McAvoy made one bad pitch. After retiring the leadoff hitter, Smith singled to right and Conforto followed with an opposite-field home run to left, his second round tripper of the day.
After that, however, McAvoy settled in and was stellar throughout. He retired the side in order in the second, worked around hit batters in each of the third and fourth innings and then struck out a pair of batters in a 1-2-3 fifth. The Beavers finally reached him in the sixth, plating a run on an RBI triple from Gabe Clark. McAvoy allowed three runs on six hits and struck out six in six innings of work. Graduate student John Healy (Cranston, R.I.) relieved McAvoy in the seventh and worked two perfect innings. He struck out a pair in the seventh and fanned one in the eighth in his second outing of the season.
Coming off a start in which he went 8.1 scoreless against San Diego State, Moore was just as good on Saturday night, allowing just three baserunners in the first four innings. Mountford started the second with a double to the wall in left but Moore got a pair of strikeouts and a ground out to leave him there. Mullen then doubled with two outs in the fourth but centerfield Joey Matthews made a diving catch to rob Robby Rinn (Warwick, R.I.) of a hit and an RBI. Moore allowed a single in the sixth but promptly picked the runner off to end the inning, starting a string of eight consecutive batters retired. He was finally chased in the eighth inning and allowed just one unearned run on four hits and struck out seven to earn his third win of the year.
Mullen led Bryant with a pair of hits and his second RBI of the day. Brown finished with four hits in the doubleheader.
Bryant will look to salvage a victory in the series as they send Joseph Michaud (Milford, Conn.) to the mound in the series finale on Sunday. First pitch is 4:05 p.m. EST.