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Top-seeded Bulldogs fall on day one of NEC tournament

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NORWICH, Conn. – Bobby Romano's three-run triple highlighted a five-run sixth inning as fourth-seeded Fairleigh Dickinson upset the top-seeded Bryant University baseball team, 7-2, in the first game of the Northeast Conference tournament on Thursday afternoon at Dodd Stadium.

With the loss, the Bulldogs (26-24) will play an elimination game on Friday at noon against the loser of Thursday's second game between second-seeded Wagner and third-seeded Sacred Heart. The Knights (21-24) advance to play Friday at 4:00 p.m. against the winner of Thursday's second game.

Bryant threatened in each of the first two innings but it was the Knights that were able to get on the board first. With two outs and no one on in the third, Shane Siebler walked. He advanced all the way to third on two wild pitches and came around to score as Dylan Sprague ripped a single into right field. The Black and Gold escaped further damage as junior Kyle Wilcox (Sandy Hook, Conn.) uncorked a wild pitch but classmate Buck McCarthy (Saugus, Mass.) raced to the ball and fired home to get the runner.

The Bulldogs were able to tie the game in the fifth inning with a two-out run. Senior Jordan Mountford (Guelph, Ont.) singled through the right side with two outs and went to second on a balk. Sophomore Brandon Bingel (Peabody, Mass.) followed with a single to left to score Mountford and tie the game.

FDU answered in a big way, however, scoring five runs in the top of the sixth inning. Pat McClure singled with two outs and no one on to start the rally and Joel Roman followed with a walk. Ryan Brennan then singled to center to score McClure and break the tie. Bobby Romano then delivered a bases-clearing triple into the right field corner and Siebler singled to left to make it 6-1.

The Black and Gold responded with a run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Senior John Mullen (Walpole, Mass.) led off with an infield single and sophomore Matt Albanese (East Haddam, Conn.) moved him to third with a single to left center. Mullen then scored as the Knights turned a 6-4-3 double play.

Wilcox allowed five runs on just four hits but walked six over 5.2 innings in suffering his second loss of the year. He also struck out five on the afternoon. The righty retired the first eight batters of the afternoon before allowing a run in the third inning. Senior Trevor Lacosse (Watervliet, N.Y.) came on in the sixth and allowed two runs on five hits over 3.1 innings.

FDU's Joe Flack allowed two runs on eight hits, walked three and struck out one over six innings to earn the win. Ryan McGrath came on to throw three scoreless innings of relief to earn his first save of the year.