SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Sophomore Nick Angelini (Bedford, N.H.) hit a grand slam and finished with six RBI as the Bryant University baseball team blasted its way past Rhode Island, 15-6, on a hot afternoon at Conaty Park.
With their 11th-straight home win, the Bulldogs (29-23) finish the year with a 17-1 record at Conaty Park. The 11-game winning streak is the longest in the country, while the record is the third-best nationally and the best in Bryant's history. URI (29-20) lost for the fourth-straight time.
It also secured the Bulldogs a series victory over the Rams this season. Bryant defeated URI 3-2 back on April 5. The two teams will wrap up the home-and-home series on Friday afternoon at Bill Beck Field in Kingston.
The Bulldogs fell behind 3-0 after two and a half innings before blasting their way back into the game in the third with eight runs on five hits. URI starter Matt Murphy set down the first six batters he faced before freshman James Ciliento (Mahwah, N.J.) opened the third with a single to left. Things got interesting from there as classmate Gaby Cruz (Miami, Fla.) was hit by a 3-1 pitch that the Rams argued he swung at while getting hit. Cruz was awarded first after a discussion of the umpires. It got stranger moments later as freshman Bryan Hart (Franklin, Mass.) squared to bunt but was hit in the helmet by the pitch. The umpires conferred once again and awarded Hart first base.
Senior Cole Fabio (Mahwah, N.J.) then drew a walk to force in the first run and set the stage for Angelini. After fighting off an 0-2 fastball, Angelini swatted an 0-2 curveball down the left field line and over the fence for his first-career grand slam, putting the Bulldogs ahead 5-3. Junior Mickey Gasper (Merrimack, N.H.) ripped the next pitch into right for a single and freshman Jimmy Titus (Stafford, Conn.) followed that by crushing a 1-0 pitch over the wall in left center to make it 8-3. It was his team-leading eighth of the season.
Cruz capped the inning with a two-out RBI single through the left side that scored sophomore Tyler Panno (Rivervale, N.J.).
Bryant extended its lead with three more runs in the fourth. Fabio led off the inning by lashing the first pitch of the inning off the top of the left field fence and over for his second home run of the year. Angelini then walked, stole second, advanced to third and scored on a Titus single. Ciliento then scored Titus with a two-out single to right field.
The Black and Gold put the game away in the sixth with three-consecutive run scoring hits. Fabio singled to right center to score a run and Angelini followed with a two-run double into the left-field corner. Gasper then made it 15-3 with a single to right field.
URI used the long ball to score its first three runs of the game, before adding its final three runs in the seventh. Chris Hess hit a solo shot in the first and Mike Corin walloped a two-run homer in the third. In the seventh, Hess delivered a two-run double and Sonny Uliana scored him with a sac fly to right.
Junior James Karinchak (Walden, N.Y.) started for the Bulldogs and pitched the first three innings. He allowed three runs on four hits, walked three and struck out four. Classmate Jack Patterson (Suffield, Conn.) pitched the next 3 2/3 innings, surrendering three runs on five hits. Sophomore Craig Lacey (Westfield, Mass.) closed the game with 2 1/3 scoreless.
Seven Bulldogs finished with two hits in the game led by Angelini's 2-3, six RBI and three runs scored. Fabio went 2-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored, tying Kevin Brown's DI program record for career runs scored at 161. Gasper (2-4), Titus (2-5, 3RBI, 2R), Wright (2-5), Ciliento (2-5, 2R) and Cruz (2-4, 2R) all finished with two hits.
Murphy suffered the loss for URI, allowing eight runs (seven earned) in 2 2/3 innings. Hess finished 2-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored, while Corin's home run was his 17th of the season.
The Bulldogs and Rams wrap up their home-and-home on Friday afternoon in Kingston. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.
Bryant's 17-1 record at home is the third-best nationally and the best in program history.
The Bulldogs won each of their final 11 home games this season.
Bryant outscored its opponents 163-69 at home this year and outhit them .340 to .237.
The Bulldogs committed just 19 errors in 18 home games, posting a .971 fielding percentage.
Angelini hit .462 (30-65) at home with six doubles, a triple, four home runs, 23 RBI, 29 runs scored and a .565 OBP.
Gasper (.448) and Cruz (.408) also hit over .400 at home, while Fabio didn't strikeout once in 85 plate appearances.