SMITHFIELD, R.I. – With Conaty Park still unplayable due to the long winter, the Bryant University baseball team will look to build off Tuesday's victory on the road as it travels to West Hartford, Conn., to take on Hartford in a three-game series this weekend.
**Saturday's doubleheader has been postponed due to wintry weather. Bryant and Hartford will play a doubleheader on Sunday beginning at 12:00 p.m.**
Originally scheduled to be played in Smithfield, this weekend's series was moved to Hartford's Fiondella Field. The Bulldogs (3-11) have won all three of the previous meetings with the Hawks (7-11), including a 6-2 victory last season.
The Black and Gold enter the weekend after a thrilling 7-6 victory over UMass Lowell on Tuesday afternoon. Bryant trailed 6-2 after six innings but rallied to score five runs over the next two innings to earn the win. It marked just the third time in the last three years that the Bulldogs have won a game when trailing after seven innings.
Bryant used the long ball against the River Hawks, tying a program record with five home runs in the game. Sophomore classmates Brandon Bingel (Peabody, Mass.) and Matt Albanese (East Haddam, Conn.) each hit two home runs and drove in three runs apiece in the contest. Bingel hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth to give the Bulldogs the lead and then pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his first career save. Junior Zach Wood (Griswold, Conn.) also homered, his first as a member of the Black and Gold. On the year, Bryant has hit 14 home runs in 14 games and ranks 12th in the country in home runs per game.
On the mound, Bryant will turn to junior Kyle Wilcox (Sandy Hook, Conn.), freshman James Karinchak (Walden, N.Y.) and senior Trevor Lacosse (Watervliet, N.Y.). Wilcox will make his sixth start of the season and has allowed two earned runs or less in each of his previous five starts this season. Karinchak will look to get back on track after allowing six runs over his last five innings, while Lacosse is coming off a dominant two-inning outing Tuesday against the River Hawks.
Hartford enters the weekend coming off a pair of tough mid-week losses to Marist and Fairfield. The Hawks won a program-record 31 games last season but lost three key members to the MLB Draft. Hartford's offense has been good so far this season holding a .272 team batting average through 18 games. Fifth-year senior Ryan Lukach is hitting just .243 but leads the team with four home runs, 18 RBI and 12 runs scored on the season. David MacKinnon, the runner-up to Albanese for New England Rookie of the Year last spring, is hitting .302 and leads the team with 15 walks.
Three juniors are slated to start on the mound for Hartford this weekend – Kyle Gauthier, Sam McKay and Brian Murphy. Gauthier will start game one and is 2-3 with a 4.37 ERA, McKay is 3-1 with a 2.77 ERA and Murphy is 0-2 with a 4.56 ERA. The Bulldogs are familiar with Murphy after the big right-hander faced them last season. Murphy allowed five runs on eight hits over five innings.
Played at Fiondella Field in West Hartford, Conn.
Sunday, March 29
Game one – 12:00 p.m.
Game two – 30 minutes following completion of game one