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Bulldogs complete weekend sweep behind Morgese, Cruz

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SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Freshman Vito Morgese (Warwick, N.Y.) allowed just two runs over a career-high 7 1/3 innings to lead the Bryant University baseball team to a 6-2 victory and a weekend sweep of Mount St. Mary's on Sunday afternoon at Conaty Park.

With the win, the Bulldogs (26-21, 18-4 NEC) completed its longest homestand in Division I program history with a perfect 9-0 record. Also, Bryant's 30-straight victory over the Mountaineers (7-36, 4-20) qualified it for the Northeast Conference tournament that will take place Memorial Day Weekend.

Morgese was brilliant in Sunday's series finale, allowing two runs (one earned) on seven hits over 7 1/3 innings. He walked one and struck out one. It is the longest outing of Morgese's career and the longest outing by a Bryant starting pitcher this season. The only two blemishes to Morgese's line were two-out RBI doubles from Zach Hostetter and Alex Kriss.

Bryant opened the scoring with two runs in the second. Freshmen James Ciliento (Mahwah, N.J.) and Gaby Cruz (Miami, Fla.) opened the inning with back-to-back singles and were advanced into scoring position with a bunt. Senior Cole Fabio (Mahwah, N.J.) scored the first run with a single to center and sophomore Nick Angelini (Bedford, N.H.) made it 2-0 with a fielder's choice.

Hostetter's two-out double in the fourth made it 2-1 but singles from Ciliento and Cruz rallied the Bulldogs in the bottom of the inning. A walk to Fabio would load the bases and Angelini made it 3-1 with a sac fly to center.

Cruz was in the middle of it again in the fifth as Bryant chased Mount starter Trey McGough. Singles from freshman Jimmy Titus (Stafford, Conn.) and sophomore Tyler Panno (Rivervale, N.J.), and a walk to Ciliento loaded the bases and brought Jordan Lawson in from the bullpen. Cruz greeted him with a two-run single through the left side to make it 5-1.

The Mountaineers pulled within three runs in the seventh and then brought the tying run to the plate in the eighth. Junior Logan Lessard (Cromwell, Conn.) came on to pitch and got the Bulldogs out the jam by inducing an inning-ending 3-6-1 double play.

Bryant then added an insurance run in the eighth. Angelini doubled to open the frame, took third on a wild pitch and scored on a two-strike, two-out single by Titus.

Cruz finished 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. Fabio (2-4, RBI), Titus (2-4, RBI, R) and Ciliento (2-3, R) all finished with two hits. Junior Mickey Gasper (Merrimack, N.H.) went 0-for-2 with three walks and ended the weekend by reaching 15 time in 17 plate appearances.

McGough allowed five runs on eight hits in four innings, while Lawson allowed one run over four innings of relief. Patrick Causa and Hostetter both finished with two hits.

The Bulldogs head to Sacred Heart for their final NEC series this week. Bryant and SHU open a four-game series on Thursday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport.