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Bulldogs stay alive, win 11-1

Athletic Communications Photo
Athletic Communications Photo


LAKEWOOD, N.J. – Junior Craig Schlitter (Guilford, Conn.) struck out eight over six innings of one-run ball to help keep the Bryant University baseball team alive in the Northeast Conference tournament with a 11-1 victory over Monmouth on Friday afternoon at FirstEnergy Park.

The win keeps the Bulldogs (41-16-1) alive in the double elimination tournament, while the Hawks' (30-24-1) comes to a close. Bryant also tied the NEC record for wins in a season with their 41st. The Bulldogs advance to play on Saturday afternoon at 12:00 p.m. against the loser of Friday's late game between No. 2 Sacred Heart and No. 4 LIU Brooklyn.

Needing a strong start from its pitcher, Schlitter delivered another dominant six-inning start for Bryant. The right-hander allowed one run or less for the sixth-straight start and for the ninth time in 13 starts this season. Schlitter allowed just two hits, walked two and struck out eight to improve to 10-3 on the year, becoming the first Bulldog hurler since Eric Loh in 2008, and just the fourth all-time, to win 10 games in a season. He retired the first six hitters and struck out five of the first nine batters. After escaping a rough spot in the third, Schlitter retired the next nine batters before allowing a two-out single in the sixth. A line drive to right ended the sixth and a 3:34 rain delay ended his afternoon.

With Schlitter dealing a gem, the Bulldogs' offense came to life on day two of the tournament as they pounded out 15 hits. They broke onto the scoreboard in the third inning with a pair of runs. Sophomore Jordan Mountford (Guelph, Ont.) walked with one out to start the rally and three-straight hits plated two runs. Freshman AJ Zarozny (Shrewsbury, Mass.) singled to left, Brown drilled an RBI single to right and sophomore John Mullen (Walpole, Mass.) followed with a single through the left side make it 2-0.

Monmouth cut into Bryant's lead in the bottom of the third but missed out on tying the game. Two walks and a hit by pitch loaded the bases with two outs for the Hawks and Jake Gronsky brought home a run with an infield single to third base. Schlitter avoided further damage as he induced an inning-ending ground ball to third, leaving the bases full.

Bryant put the game away with nine runs over the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. In the fifth, the Black and Gold plated three runs. Senior Kevin Brown (Northborough, Mass.) and Mullen collected back-to-back one-out singles up the middle and sophomore Carl Anderson (Sudbury, Mass.) doubled down the left field line to make it 3-1. Classmate Daniel St. George (Shelton, Conn.) followed with a sac fly to center and a wild pitch scored the final two runs of the inning to make it 5-1.

The Bulldogs followed with four more runs in sixth and two in the seventh. Junior Jonathan Scott (Princeton, N.J.) singled with one out, Mountford walked and Zarozny singled to load the bases with one out. Brown then singled to left to bring home two runs and Mullen followed with a two-run single through a drawn-in infield to make it 9-1. In the seventh, freshman Robby Rinn (Warwick, R.I.) singled and Scott followed with a two-run, opposite-field home run to right to push the lead to 11-1. Scott's two-run shot actually did bring rain as the skies opened during his home run trot, delaying the game for over three and a half hours.

Upon returning from the rain delay, junior Jonathan Cohen (Norwalk, Conn.) came on to throw three scoreless innings of relief, earning his second save of the season. Offensively, Zarozny, Brown and Mullen each had three hits on the afternoon and Anderson and Rinn each chipped in two. Brown and Mullen both drove in three runs.