SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Sophomore Steve Theetge (Syracuse, N.Y.) struck out a career-high eight batters over 5 2/3 innings to lead the Bryant University baseball team to an 8-5 victory over LIU Brooklyn in the first game of a Northeast Conference doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at Conaty Park.
With the win, the Bulldogs (13-18, 7-1 NEC) have now won six-straight games and lead the all-time series over the Blackbirds (10-16, 2-7) 27-10.
Theetge was locked in from the start on Saturday, striking out seven batters in the first three innings. He struck out two and picked off a runner in the first, struck out two more in the second and struck out the side in the third. Theetge allowed his first hit in the fourth and picked off his second runner of the game in the fifth. He left with two outs in the sixth, finishing his outing with two runs allowed on three hits and four walks.
Bryant broke the scoreless deadlock with a two-out run in the third. Freshman Jimmy Titus (Stafford, Conn.) doubled to start the inning, moved to third on a single and scored on a two-out single from classmate Chris Wright (Cumberland, R.I.).
The Bulldogs pushed their lead to 5-0 with a four-run fifth. Two walks and a single loaded the bases for Wright and the rookie came through again, singling to center to drive in a pair and make it 3-0. Bryant would score two more in the inning after senior Jacob Marotta (Bridgewater, Mass.) struck out on a pitch in the dirt with two outs. Junior Mickey Gasper (Merrimack, N.H.) scored from third as the ball got away and Wright scored from second as the throw to first got away.
LIU Brooklyn made things interesting in the sixth as they chased Theetge. Charles Misiano and Dom Paiotti singled and Joe Mercadante and Edward Modica drew back-to-back walks to force in the first run. Andrew Turner then flew out to center to drive in a run and end Theetge's afternoon. Sophomore Nathan Wrighter (Windsor, N.Y.) put an end to the rally, striking out Harrison Preschel looking.
Bryant answered with three runs in the bottom of the sixth. Gasper scored Titus with a double and freshman Gaby Cruz (Miami, Fla.) and sophomore Tyler Panno (RIvervale, N.J.) capped the inning with RBI singles.
The Blackbirds made one final push in the seventh, scoring three runs on three hits. Paiotti had an RBI single and Mercadante drove in two with a single.
Bryant's 2-5 hitters (Titus, Angelini, Gasper and Wright) combined to go 8-for-11 with four RBI and eight runs scored. Titus went 2-3 with two doubles and three runs scored, Angelini went 2-for-3, Gasper was 2-for-2 with two runs scored and Wright went 2-for-3 with three RBI and two runs scored.
William Jackson suffered the loss for LIU, allowing five runs on eight hits over 4 1/3 innings. Paiotti had three hits and scored twice for the Blackbirds.