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Bulldogs fall in NEC title game on Sunday

Photo by: Steve McLaughlin
Photo by: Steve McLaughlin
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NORWICH, Conn. – Sacred Heart score two runs in the top of the ninth to stun the Bryant University baseball team and capture the Northeast Conference championship with a 5-4 victory on Sunday afternoon at Dodd Stadium.

The Pioneers (23-30-1) rallied from 4-2 down in the seventh with a run in the seventh and two in the top of the ninth to end the Bulldogs' (29-25) season.

Trailing 4-2 in the seventh, the Pioneers cut into the deficit with a single run. Jesus Medina singled with one out and scored all the way from first on a double down the right field line from Zack Short.

Sacred Heart erased the deficit completely in the ninth. Jayson Sullivan led off with a triple down the left field line leading the Bulldogs to bring on junior Kyle Wilcox (Sandy Hook, Conn.). Wilcox got ahead of Medina 0-2 but Medina was able to hit a soft pop up off the end of his bat that landed behind the draw-in infield, tying the game. After a wild pitch moved Medina to second, Victor Sorrento singled to center to give the Pioneers the lead.

Sacred Heart broke through first on Sunday, scoring single runs in the second and third inning. In the second, Ted Shaw singled with two outs, stole second and advanced to third on an infield error. With the inning still alive, Keaton Flint singled to left center to score the first run.

In the third, the Pioneers used another two-out rally to add another run. Medina was caught stealing for the second out but Short and Sorrento both drew walks to keep the inning going. PJ DeFilippo followed with a single through the left side to score a run and make it 2-0.

Bryant used a two-out rally of its own to finally get on the board in the fourth. Junior Buck McCarthy (Saugus, Mass.) walked with one out and classmate Zach Wood (Griswold, Conn.) singled through the left side to put two on. SHU's Robbie Maguire came back to get a strikeout for the second out but Bryant found a way to score four runs. McCarthy scored the first run as he sprinted home from third on a wild pitch. Junior Dan Cellucci (Sudbury, Mass.) followed with a single to right field to tie the game.

Sophomore Cole Fabio (Mahwah, N.J.) kept the inning going with a single to right that was misplayed, putting runners on second and third. Classmate Brandon Bingel (Peabody, Mass.) followed with a hard line drive that went through the SHU shortstop and scored two runs to give Bryant a 4-2 lead.

Freshman Ross Weiner (Woodbridge, Conn.) started for the Bulldogs and lasted 2.2 innings. He allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits, walked two and struck out three. Junior James Davitt (Wallingford, Conn.) then made his third appearance in as many days and delivered one of the best outings of his career. He allowed two runs on six hits, didn't walk a batter and struck out four in the longest outing of his career.  

Bingel, Wood and Cellucci all finished with two hits for the Bulldogs. Bingel added two RBI and Cellucci reached base a total of three times.

Medina and DeFilippo each finished with three hits for the Pioneers. Dan Wertz earned the win after tossing 5.1 hitless innings of relief.

Davitt, Bingel and McCarthy were named to the NEC All-Tournament team.