STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Junior Buck McCarthy (Saugus, Mass.) tied a career-high with five RBI and the Bryant University baseball team used an eight-run third inning to defeat Wagner, 11-4, and earn its fourth-straight Northeast Conference Regular-Season title in game two of Friday's doubleheader at Richmond County Bank Ballpark.
The Bulldogs (26-22, 17-6 NEC) have now secured the No. 1 seed in next week's NEC Tournament for the third-straight year and now have clinched three of their four regular season titles against the Seahawks (26-21-1, 14-9). Bryant is the first team in NEC history to win four-straight regular-season crowns.
Wagner used the momentum from game one to get out in front quickly in game two. Nick Mascelli doubled to right-center with one out and went to third on a ground ball first. Back-to-back two-out walks, however, loaded the bases and Anthony Godino delivered a two-run double to left field.
Bryant was able to answer with a run of its own in the top of the second. With two outs and no one on, junior AJ Zarozny (Shrewsbury, Mass.) quickly fell behind 0-2. Matt Morris's 0-2 pitch, though, caught too much of the plate and Zarozny walloped it over the left field wall for his fourth home run of the year.
Unfazed, the Seahawks answered with a run in the bottom of the second. Trey Nicosia walked with one out, stole second and then scored as Ben Ruta hit a two-out single down the first base line. Ruta, however, was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double.
The game then completely changed in the third as the Black and Gold sent 12 batters to the plate and scored eight runs to take a commanding lead. Senior Jordan Mountford (Guelph, Ont.) walked with one out and sophomore Brandon Bingel (Peabody, Mass.) followed with a double inside the bag at first. Sophomore Cole Fabio (Mahwah, N.J.) then hit a ground ball to deep short that eluded Mascelli and brought home Mountford.
Morris bounced back with a pop up to first but was unable to get the third out of the inning. He got ahead of McCarthy 1-2 but the next pitch caught too much of the plate and McCarthy sent it soaring over the left field wall for a three-run home run and a 5-3 Bryant lead. It was McCarthy's second home run of the series and his fifth of the season. Two pitches later, junior Zach Wood (Griswold, Conn.) went back-to-back with McCarthy as he sent an 0-1 pitch over the left field wall to make it 6-3.
A walk ended the day for Morris but reliever Austin Goeke hit the first batter he faced. Junior Dan Cellucci (Sudbury, Mass.) then singled to left to score a run and Mountford roped a two-run double into the right field corner to make it 9-3.
Bryant added to its lead with a run in the top of the fourth as well. Fabio led off with a single, stole second and came around to score as McCarthy launched a double off the wall in deep left center.
After Wagner scored a run in the fifth, McCarthy answered back in the top of the sixth. Senior John Mullen (Walpole, Mass.) singled with two outs and McCarthy followed with double down the left field line that went into the Wagner bullpen, allowing Mullen to score all the way from first.
Bingel started for the Bulldogs and pitched well after a rocky first inning. He allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits, walked four and struck out one to earn his fourth win of the year. Senior Trevor Lacosse (Watervliet, N.Y.) tossed two scoreless innings to close the door.
McCarthy finished 3-for-4 with two doubles, a home run and tied his career-high with five RBI. Mountford went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI and Fabio and Wood each chipped in two hits. Fabio and Zarozny also scored two runs.
The Bulldogs and Seahawks wrap up their series and the regular season on Saturday with a single game scheduled to begin at 12:00 p.m.