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Bulldogs drop series opener at SJU, 5-1

Photo by: Rhett Hutchins
Photo by: Rhett Hutchins

MERION STATION, Pa. – Saint Joseph's used five runs over the first two innings to earn a 5-1 victory over the Bryant University baseball team in the series opener between the two teams on Friday afternoon at Smithson Field.

With the loss, the Bulldogs (3-15) have now lost eight-straight games for the first time in Division I program history. The Hawks (3-11) earned their first win over Bryant and have now won three of their last four overall.

Saint Joseph's scored all the runs it would need in its first two at-bats, using a pair of home runs to grab the lead. Deon Stafford Jr. hit a solo home run in the bottom of the first and Taylor Boyd delivered a three-run home run in the bottom of the second.

The Bulldogs cut into the deficit with an unearned run in the top of the third. Junior Malik Daley (Northborough, Mass.) walked to start the inning, went to second on a ground out and scored on a dropped pop up with two outs.

That would be all Bryant could muster against SJU starter Tim Brennan. The righty kept the Bulldogs off balance all afternoon, allowing just three hits over seven innings. He walked one and struck out six on the afternoon. Jake Meyers pitched the final two innings to close the door.  

Sophomore Steve Theetge (Syracuse, N.Y.) suffered his fifth-straight loss, allowing five runs on four hits with four walks in just two innings. Classmate Craig Lacey (Westfield, Mass.) and junior Matt Knych (Lincoln, R.I.) combined to allow just two hits over six scoreless innings of relief. Lacey came on in relief in the third and kept the Black and Gold in the game with four innings of stellar relief. He walked three, struck out one and allowed just one hit. Lacey induced double-play balls in the third and fourth innings and didn't surrender his first hit until Matt Maul reached on a swinging bunt with two outs in sixth.

Knych pitched the Bulldogs out of a bases-loaded situation in the seventh. He entered after three-consecutive walks and induced a pop up in front of home for the first out. Knych then struck out Kadar Namey swinging for the second out and got Cal Jadacki to foul out for the final out. He added a scoreless ninth inning as well.

Bryant had its chances against Brennan but stranded five men, went 0-for-14 with men on base and 0-for-7 with men in scoring position.

Sophomore Nick Angelini (Bedford, N.H.) went 2-for-4 hit his fourth double of the season in the first inning. He now has four extra-base hits (1 2B, 3 3B) in his last three games. Classmate Tyler Panno (Rivervale, N.J.) also had two hits, while junior Mickey Gasper (Merrimack, N.H.) saw his on-base streak snapped at 16 in the loss.

The Bulldogs and Hawks continue their series on Saturday afternoon with a 2:00 p.m. first pitch.