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Baseball opens 2015 season with three-game series at UTSA

Photo by: Steve McLaughlin
Photo by: Steve McLaughlin
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Smithfield, R.I. – The Bryant University baseball team opens its 2015 season with a three-game series against UTSA beginning on Friday, Feb. 20 in San Antonio, Texas. First pitch on Friday is schedule for 7:00 p.m. EST. The Bulldogs and Roadrunners will complete the series on Saturday (3p) and Sunday (1p).

UTSA, a member of Conference USA, enters the weekend with a 2-2 record on the year. The Roadrunners opened their 2015 season by taking two-of-three against Louisiana-Lafayette. The Rajin' Cajuns won 58 games and advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals last season. Most recently, UTSA fell 14-2 to No. 6 Texas on Tuesday. Last season, UTSA advanced to the championship game of the C-USA tournament, falling to Rice.

The Roadrunners have hit the ball with power over the first four games of the season. They have already hit six home runs after hitting just 27 in 61 games last spring. CF Kevin Markham and C John Bormann both hit a pair of homers in the series against ULL, with Bormann knocking in a total of six runs.

On the mound, UTSA welcomes back junior RHP Brock Hartson. Rated as the No. 130 prospect by, Hartson went 7-3 with a 2.24 ERA and 84 strikeouts over 104.1 innings. In his first start of the season last weekend, he allowed four runs on seven hits over 4.2 innings. UTSA will start classmate Nolan Trabanino on Saturday. He allowed four runs over six hits over 4.2 innings against ULL. As a team, the Roadrunners have posted a 7.46 ERA in the first four games.

Bryant enjoyed another outstanding season in 2014. The Bulldogs won 40 games for the second-straight season and won their third-straight NEC Regular-Season title and second-straight NEC Tournament title. Bryant earned victories over regional powers Connecticut and Stony Brook. The Bulldogs were awarded the No. 3 seed in the Baton Rouge Regional hosted by LSU. They lost to Houston 2-1 in 10 innings in the opener and 3-2 to Southeastern Louisiana 2-1 in 10 innings in the second game. 

The Bulldogs became the first team in Northeast Conference history to post back-to-back 40-win seasons last year. A year after winning a conference-record 45 games, the Black and Gold posted 42 victories last spring. Bryant has now won 87 games over the past two years.

The Bulldogs have struggled in season openers at the DI level, going 1-5 since the 2009 season. Bryant's only win came during the 2012 season when they defeated St. Joseph's 4-1. The victory over St. Joe's is also the only opening weekend victory for Bryant since the 2009 campaign.

Three has been a key number for the Black and Gold the last two seasons. Bryant is remarkable 82-14-1 when it has scored three or more runs in a game. They are 4-20 when they fail to record three runs. On the other hand, the Bulldogs are 51-4 when holding teams to two runs or less over the last two seasons.