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Ward delivers walk-off single as Bulldogs beat BC, 9-8

Photo by: Ben McKeown
Photo by: Ben McKeown

CARY, N.C. –  Sophomore Gaby Cruz (Miami, Fla.) tied the game and redshirt-freshman Ryan Ward (Millbury, Mass.) delivered a walk-off single as the Bryant University baseball team scored twice in the bottom of the ninth to defeat Boston College, 9-8, on Saturday afternoon at the National Training Complex.

Trailing, 8-7, sophomore Chris Wright (Cumberland, R.I.) opened the ninth with a single up the middle and then took second on an errant pickoff throw. Freshman Shane Kelly (Sewell, N.J.) singled through the left side to put runners on the corners and Cruz followed with a pinch-hit, game-tying single in the same spot. Two batters later, Ward ripped the first pitch he saw back up the middle and Kelly raced around third and dove head first into home with the winning run.

The Black and Gold finished the game with a season-high 15 hits, with five players posting multiple-hit outings. Kelly's game-winning run capped a career-day in which he went 3-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored. Classmate Matthew Stansky (Douglas, Mass.) was the beneficiary of the ninth-inning rally as he earned his first collegiate victory with two scoreless innings of relief.

Game Information

Bryant 9, Boston College 8

Records: Bryant (1-7), Boston College (4-4)

Location: National Training Center (Cary, N.C.)

W|L: Matthew Stansky (1-0) | John Witkowski (0-2)

Coach Owens' Comments

"I am happy that we played a complete game and found a way to get on the right side the scoreboard. Hopefully, we can build on that going into tomorrow and moving forward."

Key Moments

  • Stansky entered the game in the eighth inning with his team trailing by a run. He responded by tossing two scoreless innings, stranding an insurance run at third in the ninth.
  • Facing a lefty, the left-handed hitting Ward hit the first pitch he saw up the middle to bring home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.

How it happened

  • The Eagles struck first, scoring with two outs in the second. Mitch Bigras walked with two outs, moved to second on single from Brian Dempsey and scored on a single through the right side from Jake Palomaki.
  • Bryant quickly answered, scoring twice in the bottom of the second and the third to take a 4-1 lead. In the second, sophomore James Ciliento (Mahwah, N.J.) walked, took second on a wild pitch, moved to third on a fly out and scored as Kelly knocked an 0-2 pitch up the middle. Kelly then advanced on a wild pitch and scored as junior Dante Ricciardi's (West Boylston, Mass.) fly ball to left was lost in the sun.
  • In the third, senior Mickey Gasper (Merrimack, N.H.) singled and junior Tyler Panno (Rivervale, N.J.) followed with a drive into right center. The ball was bobbled, allowing Gasper to score and Panno to take third on the play. Panno was then tagged out at home on a wild pitch but a walk and a hit batter restarted the inning with two outs. Kelly then hit another 0-2 pitch up the middle to make it 4-1.
  • BC cut into the lead with two two-out runs in the top of the fourth. A wild pitch  moved both runners into scoring position and Dempsey singled down the first base line to make it 4-3.
  • In the bottom of the inning, freshman Sam Owens (Scituate, R.I.) singled, advanced to second on a ground out, to third on a throwing error and scored on a sac fly from Gasper to make it 5-3.
  • The Eagles regained the lead with three runs on three hits in the sixth. A one-out walk and a single chased senior Jack Patterson (Suffield, Conn.) and a walk loaded the bases. Dempsey and Palomaki then delivered RBI singles and Dante Baldelli capped the inning with a sac fly.
  • The Bulldogs tied the game in the bottom of the inning on a wild pitch. Owens walked and then the Black and Gold caught a break as a would-be double play ball was bobbled. After a sac bunt, Owens scored from third on a wild pitch to make it 6-6.
  • It was short lived as BC scored twice in the top of the seventh. Gian Martellini led off with a routine fly ball to center that dropped after it was lost in the sun. Three batters later, Chris Galland singled up the middle to give the Eagles the lead. Dempsey added his fourth RBI with a sac fly.
  • Bryant was able to answer with a run in the bottom of the seventh to make it a one-run game. Ciliento singled and Wright walked to start the inning. Both advanced on a wild pitch and Kelly scored Ciliento with an RBI ground out.
  • In the ninth, Wright and Kelly's singles opened the inning, with Cruz tying the game with a pinch-hit single. Ward then singled up the middle to send the Bulldogs home happy.


  • Bryant outhit Boston College, 15-11.
  • The Eagles committed four errors, while Bryant didn't make an error.
  • Ward posted his second-straight multi-hit game, going 2-for-6.
  • Gasper went 2-for-3 with a walk, an RBI and a run scored.
  • Panno went 2-for-4 with two doubles.
  • Ciliento reached base safely three times with a hit and two walks, and also scored three runs.
  • Kelly finished 3-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored.
  • Owens went 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
  • Patterson allowed five runs on six hits, walked four and struck out five over 5 1/3 innings. He earned a no decision.
  • Stansky walked one and struck out one over two scoreless innings to earn his first win.
  • The fifth of sixth BC pitchers, John Witkowski allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits in the loss. Dempsey went 3-for-4 with four RBI, while Jack Cunningham had two hits and three runs scored.

Game Notes

  • Bryant is now 4-7 against Boston College at the DI level. The Bulldogs have won each of the last two meetings.
  • The Bulldogs won when trailing after eight for just the fifth time under coach Owens.
  • The Bulldogs' 15 hits were a season-high. They now have 27 in the first two games this weekend.
  • Ward notched his fourth multi-hit game of the season. He now has seven in the first 18 games of his career.
  • Gasper recorded his second-straight multi-hit game and is now 5-for-8 with five RBI and three runs scored this weekend.
  • Panno recorded his second-straight multi-hit game and now has five hits on the weekend.
  • Ciliento set a career-high with his three runs scored.
  • Kelly set career-highs in hits (3), RBI (3) and runs scored (2) on the afternoon.
  • Ricciardi picked up his first hit and RBI as a Bulldog.
  • Owens posted his third multi-hit game of the year and tied a season-high with two runs scored.
  • Stansky matched a season-high with two innings of relief.

Up Next

Bryant wraps up play in the Army Invitational on Sunday morning when it meets Niagara. First pitch is scheduled for 11:00 a.m.