SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Silenced for the first five-plus innings, the Bryant University baseball team scored twice in the sixth and four times in the seventh to earn a come-from-behind 7-2 victory on Friday afternoon in the first game of a Northeast Conference series against LIU Brooklyn at Conaty Park.
With the win, the Bulldogs (12-18, 6-1 NEC) have now won a season-high five-straight games, coming from behind to win each of the last three. The Blackbirds (10-15, 2-6 NEC) have lost four of their last five.
LIU starter Anthony Rupp had handcuffed the Black and Gold all afternoon, retiring 10-straight batters, including the first two men in the sixth before things started to turn. Senior Jacob Marotta (Bridgewater, Mass.) walked on five pitches and sophomore Tyler Panno (Rivervale, N.J.) followed with a soft ground ball to deep short that he beat out for an infield single.
Rupp then uncorked a wild pitch to move both runners into scoring position and freshman Gaby Cruz (Miami, Fla.) delivered a two-out, two-run single up the middle to give Bryant a 3-2 lead. It is the third time in four games that Cruz has driven in the game-winning run.
Bryant put the game away in the seventh, scoring four runs off two LIU pitchers. Reliever Baylor LaPointe retired the first batter he faced but freshman Jimmy Titus (Stafford, Conn.) and sophomore Nick Angelini (Bedford, N.H.) followed with back-to-back singles. An errant pickoff attempt advanced both runners and led the Blackbirds to intentionally walk junior Mickey Gasper (Merrimack, N.H.) to load the bases.
Lefty Patrick Clyne was summoned from the bullpen to face lefty hitting freshman Chris Wright (Cumberland, R.I.) and Wright greeted him with a bases-clearing triple to right center. Wright would then score on a third strike wild pitch to make it 7-2.
The junior pitching combination of James Karinchak (Walden, N.Y.) and Jack Patterson (Suffield, Conn.) did the rest, limiting the Blackbirds to just four hits and combining to strike out 10 batters. Karinchak shrugged off some early struggled to improve to 3-1. He allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits, walked four and struck out six in six innings.
Patterson earned his first-career save by pitching the final three innings on Friday. He allowed just one hit and struck out four. An infield error put a runner on in the seventh but Wright started an inning-ending 3-6 double play. Patterson struck out two to close the door in a perfect ninth.
LIU Brooklyn took a lead in the first as Charles Misiano singled to open the game, stole second and went to third on a fly out. He then scored as Karinchak threw away a pickoff attempt at first base.
Bryant tied the game in the second as Rupp issued back-to-back two-out walks to force in a run.
Andrew Turner's third home run of the year in the top of the fourth gave the Blackbirds the lead back.
Angelini was the lone Bulldog to finish with multiple hits, while Gasper scored a pair of runs.
Rupp allowed three runs on just four hits, walked four and struck out two over six innings.
The Bulldogs and Blackbirds continue their series on Saturday with a pair of seven-inning games. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.