FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Bryant University baseball team led 3-0 after five and a half innings but the University of Arkansas scored 10 runs in the bottom of the sixth and then held on late to defeat the Bulldogs, 11-8, on Friday afternoon at Baum Stadium.
The Bulldogs (2-3) had held the Razorbacks (4-0) to just one hit over the first five innings before the Hogs scored 10 runs on just four hits in the sixth. Bryant and Arkansas were meeting for the first time since the 2013 NCAA Manhattan (Kan.) Regional.
Evan Lee opened the sixth inning with a double into the left field corner, and Luke Bonfield followed with a four-pitch walk. Grant Koch then hit a line drive off the center field fence for a two-run triple to make it 3-2. Two batters later, Carson Shaddy singled to left field to score Koch and tie the game.
A hit batter loaded the bases and a walk scored a run to give the Hogs their first lead of the game. A bases-loaded walk, an infield single to deep short and a hit batter brought in three more runs to make it 7-3. An infield throwing error scored two more runs and Dominic Fletcher's sac fly to center capped the big inning.
Bryant had built its lead with two runs in the third and one in the fourth. In the third, senior Jacob Marotta (Bridgewater, Mass.) doubled to left on an 0-2 pitch to start a two-out rally. Classmate Cole Fabio (Mahwah, N.J.) followed with a walk and freshman Ryan Ward (Millbury, Mass.) flared a single into center to score the first run of the game. Sophomore Nick Angelini (Bedford, N.H.) followed with a two-strike single to right field to make it 2-0.
Freshman Chris Wright (Cumberland, R.I.) extended the Bulldogs' lead with one swing of the bat in the fourth inning. Wright turned on an 0-1 breaking pitch and sent it over the wall in right center for his first-career home run.
Trailing 10-3, the Black and Gold mounted a rally with two runs in the seventh and two more in the eighth. In the seventh, freshman James Ciliento (Mahwah, N.J.) walked and Fabio doubled down the left field line to put two on. Junior Mickey Gasper (Merrimack, N.H.) plated two with a two-out, two-run single through the left side.
Bryant added two more runs in the eighth and even brought the tying run to the plate. Ciliento reached on a throwing error with two outs and sophomore Tyler Panno (Rivervale, N.J.) made it hurt as he followed with a pinch-hit, two-run home run down the right field line to make it 10-7. It was the first home run of his career. Fabio and Ward then connected on back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners but a strikeout ended the threat.
The Bulldogs made things interesting in the 9th as they loaded the bases with no outs. Two walks and an infield single loaded them but Josh Alberius was summoned from the bullpen and quickly induced a 6-3 double play. He then got a strikeout to end the game.
The loss spoiled a strong outing for junior James Karinchak (Walden, N.Y.). Karinchak settled for a no decision after allowing three runs on three hits over five innings. He walked three, struck out five and threw 92 pitches. Karinchak was dominant for the first five innings, allowing just one single. He struck out Lee to strand a runner at third in the third and got a weak ground ball to first to end a threat in the fifth.
Arkansas took advantage of Bryant's bullpen in the sixth, scoring seven runs (six earned) on just two hits. Sophomore Nathan Wrighter (Windsor, N.Y.) was the most effective out of the pen, tossing 1 1/3 scoreless innings. He allowed just one hit and struck out one.
Fabio, Ward each finished with two hits, while Wright had two hits and reached base four times in the game. Fabio and Ciliento both scored a pair of runs.
Arkansas starter Blaine Knight earned a no decision as well, allowing three runs on four hits over five innings. He walked one, struck out four and threw just 79 pitches. Dominic Taccolini earned the win in relief, tossing a scoreless sixth. Alberius earned the save after getting the final three outs.
All nine players in the Arkansas lineup scored at least one run in the game, while Koch finished 2-for-5 with four RBI.
The Bulldogs and Razorbacks continue their series on Saturday with a first pitch scheduled for 3:00 p.m. EST.