MERION STATION, Pa. – Sophomore Joseph Paparelli (Preston, Conn.) hit his first-career home run and the Bryant University baseball team broke open a close game with 10 runs late on the way to a 13-8 victory over Saint Joseph's on Friday morning at Smithson Field.
The Bulldogs (7-11) ran their winning streak to five games thanks to another offensive onslaught. Bryant collected 15 hits and hit four home runs to cruise past the Hawks (9-14) in the second all-time meeting between the two schools.
Bryant opened the scoring with the help from an unfamiliar power source. Leading off the third, Paparelli got ahead in the count 3-1 before drilling an inside fastball well over the wall in right field for his first-career home run.
The Black and Gold continue to add to their lead in the very next inning. Freshman Mickey Gasper (Merrimack, N.H.) led off with a single through the left side for his first collegiate hit. Senior John Mullen (Walpole, Mass.) then laced a double over the head of the left fielder and junior AJ Zarozny (Shrewsbury, Mass.) ground out to second to bring home Gasper.
St. Joe's cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the fourth. Stefan Kancylarz ripped a one-out triple out of the reach of a diving Paparelli in left-center to start the rally and scored on a Cal Jadacki double to dead center. Paparelli, however, made an outstanding running catch on a line drive off the bat of Charlie Coghlin in left-center to keep the Bulldogs ahead.
Bryant used the long ball to push its lead back to two runs in the sixth. With two outs, junior Robby Rinn (Warwick, R.I.) fouled off four-straight pitches before hitting a solo home run to left-center. It was his second home run in as many games this week.
After the Hawks closed the deficit to a run in the bottom of the sixth, the Bulldogs responded with a three-run seventh and a seven-run eighth to blow the game open. Sophomore Brandon Bingel (Peabody, Mass.) opened the inning with a long home run to left field, his third of the season. Senior Jordan Mountford (Guelph, Ont.) kept the inning alive with a two-out single through the right side to put runners on the corners before the Bulldogs perfectly executed a double steal. Mountford took off from first and as the throw went to second, sophomore Cole Fabio (Mahwah, N.J.) scampered home from third. A throwing error plated a third run and gave Bryant a 6-2 lead.
In the eighth, the Bulldogs loaded the bases on a single and two hit batters before Paparelli delivered a sac fly to left. A walk reloaded the bases and Mountford promptly cleared them with a double down the right field. Rinn and Mullen followed with RBI singles and the final run scored on a wild pitch to give the Black and Gold a 13-2 lead.
Junior Kyle Wilcox (Sandy Hook, Conn.) worked through 5.2 innings to earn his second win of the season. He allowed two runs on five hits, walked two and struck out two on the afternoon. Wilcox worked through jams in the second and fifth innings before handing the ball to his bullpen with a man on second in the sixth. He stranded a runner at third in the second and got a fly ball to left to strand two in the fifth.
After Brian Lau's sac fly to center brought SJU within a run, 3-2, freshman left-hander Logan Lessard (Cromwell, Conn.) was summoned from the Bryant bullpen. He got a ground ball to third from Nate Shank but a throwing error allowed him to reach. After a hit batter loaded the bases, Lessard got a chopper to first from John Brue to get out of the jam. He went on to allow six runs six hits over three innings. Senior Alex Lagos (Wrentham, Mass.) came on to get the final out of the game after the Hawks rallied to score six runs in the ninth.
Batting 4-5 in the lineup, Rinn and Mullen led Bryant's offensive on Friday morning. Rinn picked up three hits (3-5) for the second-straight game, drove in two and scored two runs, while Mullen matched a career-high with four hits including a pair of doubles. It was Mullen's second four-hit game of the season. Mountford finished with two hits for the fourth-straight game, hit his fifth double in three games and drove in three runs for the second-straight outing. Gasper had two hits and scored two runs, while Paparelli finished with two RBI.
The Bulldogs wrap up action on Friday as they take on Villanova at St. Joe's Smithson Field.