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Cruz, Angelini homer as Bulldogs win fourth straight Wednesday

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SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Freshman Gaby Cruz (Miami, Fla.) and sophomore Nick Angelini (Bedford, N.H.) each homered in a three-run fifth inning as the Bryant University baseball team extended its winning streak to four games with a 3-2 win over in-state rival Rhode Island on Wednesday afternoon at Conaty Park.

The Bulldogs (7-17) completed their brief three-game homestand with three victories and will now go on the road for a four-game Northeast Conference series at Wagner. The Rams (14-11) saw their eight-game winning streak halted with the loss. Bryant was 0-5 in one-run games entering play on Wednesday. 

Having collected just five hits in his first 44 career at-bats, Cruz broke out with three of the Bulldogs' seven hits, including his first-career home run. Angelini provided the rest of the offense, extending his hitting streak to 10 games with a two-run laser over the left field wall.

Trailing 2-0 in the fifth, Cruz roped the first pitch of the inning over the left field wall to cut the deficit in half. URI reliever Jake Walker then retired the next two batters but hit sophomore Tyler Panno (Rivervale, N.J.) with a breaking ball to extend the inning. Angelini then jumped on a 1-0 fastball and drove it down the left field line and into the trees to give the Bulldogs a 3-2 lead. It was his third home run of the season.

The fifth-inning rally made a winner of freshman lefty Vito Morgese (Warwick, N.Y.) in his first start at home. Morgese worked at least six innings for the second-straight start, allowing just two runs on five hits with two walks and five strikeouts. After Bryant took the lead, Morgese fired one more shutdown inning in the sixth before handing the ball to his bullpen.

Bryant's trio of freshman Jack Ipsen (Eatontown, N.J.), sophomore Nathan Wrighter (Windsor, N.Y.) and junior Logan Lessard (Cromwell, Conn.) did the job. Ipsen allowed just a single in the seventh, Wrighter pitched a perfect eighth and Lessard struck out two and worked around a walk to earn his third save. Wrighter has now appeared in each of the last six games the Bulldogs have played.

URI built its lead with single runs in the fourth and fifth. Mike Corin led off the fourth with his eighth home run of the season, while Mike Foley doubled and scored on a Chris Hess single in the fifth.

Taso Stathopoulos started for the Rams and struck out three over three scoreless innings. Walker suffered the loss, allowing three runs over two innings. Corin and Foley each finished with two hits.

The Bulldogs open their four-game series with the Seahawks on Friday at 3:00 p.m.