PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. – The Bryant University baseball team saw its six-game winning streak come to a close on Saturday as Villanova earned a 5-4 victory on a windy day at Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth.
The Bulldogs (8-12) finished their weekend with a 2-1 record after defeating St. Joe's and splitting a pair of games with the Wildcats (11-14). Bryant went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position with the loss.
Villanova jumped to an early lead with three runs in the second on Saturday. Kevin Jewitt doubled with one out and Eric Lowe walked to put two runners on. Jeff Courter followed with a double to right to score both and Emmanuel Morris made it 3-0 with a two-out bunt single.
The Bulldogs scored three runs over the next two innings to erase the deficit. In the third, sophomore Cole Fabio (Mahwah, N.J.), senior John Mullen (Walpole, Mass.) and junior AJ Zarozny (Shrewsbury, Mass.) all walked to load the bases with two outs. Back-to-back wild pitches then brought home the first two runs of the game.
Bryant tied the game in the fourth but missed out on a chance to take the lead. Freshman Mickey Gasper (Merrimack, N.H.) singled to left to start the inning and advanced all the way to third as sophomore Jacob Marotta's (Bridgewater, Mass.) bunt single was thrown down the right field line. Fabio was then hit by a pitch to load the bases and senior Jordan Mountford (Guelph, Ont.) tied the game with a sac fly to right field. The Bulldogs then tried to score Marotta on a fly ball to right but Morris made a perfect throw to the plate for the final out of the inning.
The Wildcats, however, responded with a run in the bottom of the fourth to retake the lead. After the first two batters were retired, Zander Retamar drew a four-pitch walk and Morris lofted the very next pitch down the left field line for a run-scoring triple.
Villanova added to its lead with another run in the sixth. Jewitt was hit by a pitch to open the inning and the Wildcats quickly put the hit-and-run on. With the runner going, Lowe singled through the hole on the right side. Lowe's single, however, was bobbled in right field and Jewitt never stopped running and he scored all the way from first to make it 5-3.
The Black and Gold rallied to cut the deficit to one in the eighth but a baserunning miscue ended the inning abruptly. A two-out single from Zane Smith (Ilion, N.Y.) ground ball kept the inning alive and senior Matt Zanotta (Schenectady, N.Y.) knocked a pinch-hit single to left to bring home a run. Bryant's chance at tying the game was stymied on a broken play, however. After the 1-2 pitch to Fabio missed outside, the Wildcats threw behind Zanotta at first base but the ball went into right field. Pinch-runner Dan Cellucci (Sudbury, Mass.) moved to third but Zanotta was caught trying to advance to second for the third out.
Freshman James Karinchak (Walden, N.Y.) started for the Black and Gold and allowed five runs on seven hits over six innings. He walked three and struck out three on the day. Classmate Justin Snyder (Georgetown, Mass.) came on in the seventh but was able to get just one out. Junior James Davitt (Wallingford, Conn.) relieved Snyder with the bases loaded and got the Bulldogs out of the jam with back-to-back strikeouts. He also worked out of bases-loaded jam in the eighth, getting a fielder's choice to end the inning.
Gasper finished the day 2-for-2 with a walk and, while Fabio reached base three times with a single, walk and hit by pitch.
Kagan Richardson earned the win for Villanova with four innings of one-hit relief. Chris Haggarty retired the final four batters to earn his fourth save. Morris finished the game with three hits and two RBI.
The Bulldogs are back in action on Wednesday, April 8 as they welcome in-state rival Rhode Island to Conaty Park. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.