BASEBALL FACES KANSAS STATE SATURDAY NIGHT AT 8PM ON ESPN3
MANHATTAN, Kansas – A night after stunning second-seeded Arkansas, the third-seeded Bryant University baseball team will face top seed and host Kansas State for a spot in the Manhattan Regional championship game on Saturday night at Tointon Family Stadium.
The Bulldogs (45-16-1) earned the school's first-ever NCAA Division I tournament victory on Friday and will now face a Wildcats (42-17) team that scored 20 runs in their opening round victory over Wichita State on Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. and can be viewed live on ESPN3.
Bryant and Kansas State have never met prior to this and the Wildcats are just the second team from the Big 12 the Bulldogs have faced since moving to the DI ranks. The Bulldogs will have their hands full with a K-State offense that comes in with a team batting average of .326. The Wildcats pounded out 19 hits against seven Wichita State pitchers on Friday, scoring at least one run in all but one inning. All-American second baseman Ross Kivet went 4-for-5 with two home runs, four RBI and four runs scored to pace the Wildcat offense.
On the mound, the Bulldogs will see senior left-hander Joe Flattery. Pitching in his second year with K-State after transferring from Iowa Central Community College, Flattery is 4-4 with a 4.02 ERA in 69.1 innings. He's allowed 74 hits, walked 17 and struck out 46. Last weekend, Flattery tossed 5.1 scoreless innings against Oklahoma, scattering three hits and striking out four. The start was the first he's made since April 19 against Oklahoma St.
The Bulldogs, on the other hand, are coming off one of the most historic days in program, school and conference history. Against the preseason No. 1 Razorbacks, the Black and Gold picked up 11 hits and broke a 1-1 tie with three runs in the eighth inning. Senior Kevin Brown (Northborough, Mass.) broke the 1-1 tie with an RBI single and sophomore John Mullen (Walpole, Mass.) followed with a RBI triple to the base of the center field wall. Classmate Carl Anderson (Sudbury, Mass.) capped the scoring with an RBI single to left. Brown and Mullen each collected three hits, giving Brown 80 on the year. Mullen drove in two runs to hike his RBI total up to 47. In six postseason games, sophomore Jordan Mountford (Guelph, Ont.), Brown and Mullen have all collected 11 hits. Mountford leads the way with nine runs scored and Mullen has a team-high eight RBI in the postseason.
The real story for Bryant on Friday night was its pitching. Led by senior ace Peter Kelich (Jackson, N.J.), the Bulldogs limited Arkansas to just three hits on the evening. Kelich didn't allow a hit until a leadoff double in the fifth, finishing his afternoon allowing just one run on two hits. He struck out six, tying him for the program's single-season strikeout record. Classmate Salvatore Lisanti (Bronx, N.Y.) did the rest, tossing four hitless innings of relief to close the door. He escaped a two-on, no-out jam in the sixth and then induced a game-ending 6-3 double play to send the Bulldogs into today's winner's bracket final.
Getting the ball today for the Bulldogs will be junior right-hander Craig Schlitter (Guilford, Conn.). A Second Team All-NEC pitcher this spring, Schlitter has been masterful for the Black and Gold. He brings a league-best 10-3 record into the contest and has posted a 2.53 ERA in 78.1 innings on the mound. Schlitter has struck out 74, walked just 16 and teams are hitting a measly .202 against him. He has allowed one run or less in each of his last six starts, going 6-0 with a 0.70 ERA in 38.1 innings during that stretch. Teams have hit just .158 against him and he has struck out 36 and issued just seven walks.
The winner of Saturday's second game will advance to the regional championship round on Sunday at 8:00 p.m. The loser will face the winner of Arkansas and Wichita State on Sunday at 3:00 p.m.