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Not done yet; Lacosse's gem forces decisive championship game Sunday

Photo by: Steve McLaughlin
Photo by: Steve McLaughlin
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NORWICH, Conn. – Senior Trevor Lacosse (Watervliet, N.Y.) turned in the most dominating performance of his career, hurling 8.1 brilliant innings to lead the top-seeded Bryant University baseball team to a 5-2 victory over third-seeded Sacred Heart on Saturday afternoon at Dodd Stadium.

With the win, the Bulldogs (29-24) have forced a winner-take-all championship game against the Pioneers (22-30-1) at 12:00 p.m. on Sunday. The winner of that game will claim the conference crown and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Bryant advanced to the championship round with a 7-0 victory over fourth-seeded Fairleigh Dickinson earlier in the day.

One of the top relievers in program history, Lacosse made his mark as a starter on a cloudless Saturday in Norwich. The lefty was dominant over a career-high 8.1 innings and carried a shutout into the ninth. He allowed two runs on six hits, walked just one and struck out seven on 117 pitches. He retired 13-straight at one point and has allowed just four runs over 11.2 innings in this year's tournament. Junior James Davitt (Wallingford, Conn.) finished off Lacosse's outing by recording the final two outs to earn his fourth save of the season.

Bryant was able to scratch across a run in the fourth to open the scoring. Sophomore Brandon Bingel (Peabody, Mass.) singled to center and junior Robby Rinn (Warwick, R.I.) was hit by a pitch to put two runners on with one out. Senior John Mullen (Walpole, Mass.) followed with a sharp single to center to score Bingel with the first run of the game. SHU's Jayson Sullivan took away another run, however, as he raced into right-center to make the catch. Rinn was then doubled off as he was ruled to not have retouched third base.

The game remained 1-0 over the next four innings as both Lacosse and SHU starter Jesus Medina locked horns in a classic pitchers duel. Lacosse allowed two hits in the fourth but a strikeout of Kenny Byram started a string of 13-straight set down by the veteran left-hander. Medina allowed just two baserunners, both walks, over his final three innings before handing the ball to his bullpen in the eighth.

Bryant gave itself some breathing room with a huge four-run ninth. Sophomore Matt Albanese (East Haddam, Conn.) opened the inning with a ground ball behind the base at second that he was able to beat out. Rinn followed with a hard single to right field that bounced past the SHU fielder, allowing Albanese to score and Rinn to go all the way to third. Mullen then hit a chopper down the third base line that hit the umpire and stayed in the infield. Juniors Buck McCarthy (Saugus, Mass.) and AJ Zarozny (Shrewsbury, Mass.) delivered RBI singles and sophomore Cole Fabio (Mahwah, N.J.) capped the scoring with a sac fly to left to make it 5-0.

The insurance runs were important as Sacred Heart was able to push across two runs in the bottom of the ninth. Medina led off with a single and came around to score on a double from Victor Sorrento. A single to center from PJ DeFilippo brought home another run and brought Davitt in from the bullpen. He calmly struck out the first batter he faced and then fielded a bunt attempt and fired to first to end the game.

Albanese and Mullen each finished with two hits on the afternoon and five different players contributed RBIs. With his double in the ninth, Rinn now has 21 on the year, the most by a Bulldog since 2010.