SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The Bryant University baseball wraps up its five-game homestand this weekend as it welcomes LIU Brooklyn to Smithfield for a four-game Northeast Conference series at Conaty Park. The series gets underway Friday with a first pitch set for 3:00 p.m.
Friday – Live Stats
Friday – James Karinchak (2-1, 2.10) vs. Anthony Rupp (0-4, 9.16)
Saturday – Steve Theetge (3-5, 6.06) vs. William Jackson III (1-1, 6.62)
Saturday – Chris Wright (0-4, 10.42) vs. Jackson Svete (3-1, 5.61)
Sunday – Craig Lacey (0-0, 4.19) vs. Nick Freijomil (3-4, 6.08)
Karinchak moves back into his Friday role this weekend after a dominate outing against Wagner last weekend. He earned Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week honors after striking out 11 in a one-hit, complete-game shutout (7 innings) of Wagner. Karinchak faced two over the minimum and allowed just two balls to reach the outfield.
He had mixed results against LIU last year, striking out seven and allowing just three hits over eight scoreless in his first outing. The second time through, Karinchak allowed seven runs on five hits and walked five in 5 1/3 innings. Karinchak will be making his third start against league opponents this year and has not allowed a run in 10 innings. In his career, he is 13-2 with a 1.93 ERA, 119 strikeouts and just 33 walks in 102 1/3 innings against NEC teams in the regular season.
The only change to Bryant's weekend rotation is the addition of Lacey on Sunday. The sophomore will be making his first start of the year after 10 relief appearances. Lacey worked 4 1/3 innings of relief last Sunday, allowing just one run on three hits against Wagner. He retired 11 of the final 13 batters he faced.
For LIU, Rupp will look for better results against the Bulldogs after allowing 11 runs on 11 hits in four innings last year. Svete allowed three runs on six hits, walked three and struck out four in four innings against CCSU last weekend. Freijomil is the lone veteran and posted one of the best outings of the year against Seton Hall, tossing six scoreless innings in the Blackbirds' victory.
Bryant won five of the six games against LIU Brooklyn last year and leads the all-time series 25-10. The Bulldogs, however, are just 8-5 against the Blackbirds in Smithfield. Last season, the Black and Gold hit a program-record nine home runs in a 21-8 victory in game one of a doubleheader on Mother's Day. Bryant won game two 15-5 and finished the day with 36 runs scored.
The Bulldogs and Blackbirds have also met twice in the NEC Tournament, with both games coming during the 2013 season. Fourth-seeded LIU defeated the top-seeded Bulldogs in the opening game of the tournament but the Bulldogs returned the favor two days later on their way to their first NEC title.
Also a big series note is that Bryant has only lost one NEC series at home since joining the league in 2009 and it came against LIU Brooklyn in 2011. The Blackbirds won 2-of-3 in a series that was shortened by weather.
NOTES AND NOTABLES FOR LIU BROOKLYN
The Bulldogs have won eight of nine entering Friday's contest. Bryant has allowed five runs or less in all eight of the victories.
Looking back further, the Black and Gold have allowed five runs or less in 15 of their last 17 games. In that span, Bryant's pitching staff has posted a 3.39 ERA and has held opponents to a .223 batting average.
Off to a 5-1 start in league play, the Bulldogs are now 146-42 (.777) during NEC regular-season play since the start of the 2010 season. Bryant is 81-22 (.786) at home against NEC teams.
Freshman Gaby Cruz (Miami, Fla.) had two more hits on Tuesday and is now 8-for-20 over his last six games. He has posted three multi-hit games during the stretch and has driven in four runs.
Senior Jacob Marotta (Bridgewater, Mass.) doubled twice in Tuesday's win over UConn and now leads the team with nine on the year. Both of Marotta's doubles came in the Bryant's eight-run sixth inning. Marotta entered the year with just one double in 84 career games.
SCOUTING THE BLACKBIRDS
LIU Brooklyn comes into the weekend with a 10-14 record overall and a 2-5 mark in NEC play. The Blackbirds lost 3-of-4 last weekend at home against Central Connecticut. LIU is second in the league with a .270 team batting average but are second-to-last in the league with a 7.35 team ERA.
Joe Mercadante leads the team with .344 average and 16 RBI, while Edward Modica (.327) and Charles Misiano (.326) are the other two regulars over .300. Misiano has also stolen a league-high 12 bases. The Blackbirds have eight players that have 10+ RBI on the year.