SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Freshman Ryan Johnson (East Falmouth, Mass.) tossed five scoreless innings but Hartford used a pair of four-run innings to defeat the Bryant University baseball team 9-0 on Wednesday afternoon at Conaty Park.
The loss snaps a five-game winning streak for the Bulldogs (24-21) and is the first win in the all-time series for the Hawks (20-29). Bryant was playing its final home game of the year.
Making just his second career start, Johnson put together the best performance of his young career on Wednesday. He allowed just five hits, walked one and struck out one in a career-high five innings. The Hawks put the leadoff runner on in four of the five innings against Johnson but the rookie right hander induced a double play in the first and struck out a batter to strand two in the second.
He saved his best escape for his final inning. TJ Ward doubled down the left field line and Joe Roberti followed with a line drive off the foot of Johnson, putting runners on the corners with no outs. Johnson stayed in the game, however, and induced a weak pop to short for the first out. Classmate Mickey Gasper (Merrimack, N.H.) then made a great play behind the plate, hopping out to field a bunt and racing back to tag out Ward at the plate. Johnson ended the inning with a ground ball to third.
Hartford broke through in the next inning. David MacKinnon reached on an infield single, stole second and went to third on a wild pitch. He came around to score the first run of the game on a sac fly.
The Hawks broke the game open with four runs in the seventh and four more in the ninth. MacKinnon's two-run double and EriK Ostberg's two-run single produced the runs in the seventh, while two ground balls, a single and a wild pitch led to Hartford's four runs in the ninth.
Hartford's pitching staff did the rest, allowing just three hits on the afternoon. Joseph Paparelli (Preston, Conn.) singled to start the second but five Hawk hurlers combined to retire the next 22 batters in a row. Paparelli was stranded at third and the Bulldogs didn't record another hit until junior Michael Lanza (Elmsford, N.Y.) singled through the right side with one out in the ninth.
Freshman Justin Snyder (Georgetown, Mass.) suffered the loss, allowing five runs on three hits over 1.2 innings. Senior Alex Lagos (Wrentham, Mass.) allowed four runs (two earned) on four hits over 1.1 innings and sophomore Jack Patterson (Suffield, Conn.) recorded the final three outs, striking out two.
The Bulldogs now head to Staten Island, N.Y., for a four-game series with Wagner that will determine the Northeast Conference Regular-Season title.