STORRS, Conn. – The Bryant University baseball team built leads of 4-0 and 9-6 but the University of Connecticut rallied to tie the game in the eighth before the game eventually ended in a 9-9 tie after 10 innings due to darkness.
Wednesday's game started in sunshine at 3:00 p.m. but ended in near darkness after sophomore Chris Wright (Cumberland, R.I.) struck out Thad Phillips swinging to end the 10th. It is Bryant's first tie since Feb. 24, 2013 at Houston Baptist.
Sophomore James Ciliento (Mahwah, N.J.) and freshman Shane Kelly (Sewell, N.J.) paced the Black and Gold's offensively, finishing a combined 6-for-8 with three RBI and four runs scored. Ciliento finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored, while Kelly hit a three-run home run to highlight his own 3-for-4 performance.
Bryant 9, Connecticut 9
Records: Bryant (14-14-1), Connecticut (17-10-1)
Location: J.O. Christian Field (Storrs, Conn.)
Coach Owens' Comments
"I thought positionally we played very well, making no errors, collecting 14 hits and scoring nine runs. We played from in front the whole day and I thought the guys played really hard. Nash Eppard was solid, Ross Weiner pitched very well and Nathan Wrighter and Chris Wright were both really good. It is disappointing to not get a win after doing that many things properly. But it was a good, hard-fought game between two teams that play hard. We are looking forward to the upcoming weekend."
- With UConn trailing 9-6 in the eighth, Zac Susi hit a three-run double to left center to tie the game.
- Following the game-tying double, junior Nathan Wrighter (Windsor, N.Y.) was able to keep the game tied as he stranded a runner on second.
- Wrighter then sent the game to extra innings as he struck out John Toppa with the winning run on second in the ninth.
How it happened
- Bryant and UConn started Wednesday's game with nearly identical results. The Bulldogs loaded the bases with one out in the first but could not score, while the Huskies loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the first but could not score.
- The Black and Gold broke through in the third, scoring four runs on five hits. Redshirt freshman Ryan Ward (Millbury, Mass.) and Ciliento opened the inning with singles and Kelly hammered a hanging slider over the left field fence to make it 3-0. Wright followed with a double to chase UConn starter Joe Simeone and came around to score on a two-out single from junior Tyler Panno (Rivervale, N.J.).
- UConn answered with two runs of its own in the bottom of the inning. Toppa and Prato singled, while Susi walked to load the bases with no outs. Redshirt junior Justin Snyder (Georgetown, Mass.) struck out Isaac Feldstein but Phillips drove in two with a single to left. Snyder limited the damage by retiring the final two batters.
- The Huskies pulled within a run in the bottom of the fourth. Chris Winkel walked and came around to score on a Toppa double. Toppa eventually stole third but was caught in a rundown between third and home on a ground ball back to the pitcher.
- Bryant extended its lead to 5-3 in the fifth. Kelly beat out an infield single, stole second, advanced to third on a fly out and scored as junior Nick Angelini (Bedford, N.H.) singled to right field.
- UConn answered by tying the game in the bottom of the inning. Feldstein walked, took second on a balk and scored on a one-out single from Troy Stefanski. After a hit batter, Winkel greeted redshirt freshman Nash Eppard (Essex, Conn.) with a two-out RBI single to left field.
- The Huskies then made three-straight errors to give the Bulldogs three runs in the top of the sixth. Freshman Sam Owens (Scituate, R.I.) and Ward both reached on errors by the first baseman, while Ciliento's sac bunt was thrown down the right field line by Susi. Both runners scored on the error and Ciliento ended up at third. He would score on a sac fly from senior Mickey Gasper (Merrimack, N.H.).
- In the bottom of the sixth, Prato walked, stole second and scored on a two-out single from Feldstein.
- Bryant extended its lead to 9-6 in the top of the eighth. Gasper reached on an error, advanced to second on a ground out and scored on Wright's single to right field.
- In the bottom of the eighth, Michael Woodworth walked, Toppa doubled and Prato walked to load the bases. Susi followed then cleared the bases with a double to left center.
- Bryant outhit UConn, 14-12.
- The Bulldogs didn't commit an error in the contest. UConn finished with four errors.
- Freshman Matthew Stansky (Douglas, Mass.) started and allowed two runs on four hits over two-plus innings.
- Snyder allowed one run on one hit over an inning of relief.
- Sophomore Jack Ipsen (Eatontown, N.J.) surrendered two runs on two hits over 1 1/3 innings.
- Eppard allowed one run on two hits in 1 2/3 innings.
- Senior Ross Weiner (Woodbridge, Conn.) struck out one in a scoreless seventh inning.
- Wrighter struck out two over two scoreless innings.
- Wright struck out two in a scoreless 10th.
- Ward went 2-for-6 with two runs scored.
- Ciliento went 3-for-4 with two runs scored.
- Kelly finished 3-for-4 with a home run, three RBI, two runs scored and a stolen base.
- Wright went 2-for-5 with a double, an RBI and a run scored.
- Angelini posted two hits and walked twice.
- Toppa went 4-6 with two runs scored and Prato was 2-for-4 with three runs scored for UConn.
- The Bulldogs are now 4-6-1 all-time against Connecticut.
- Bryant played its 13th errorless game of the season and is 10-2-1 in those contests.
- Wednesday marked Bryant's first tie since February 2013 against Houston Baptist. That game ended in a tie due to a curfew rule.
- Weiner lowered his ERA to 0.77 with a scoreless seventh.
- Wrighter made his team-high 12th appearance of the season.
- Wright made his first pitching appearance since Feb. 24 at Auburn.
- Ward extended his hitting streak to 15 games and his on-base streak to 25 games. Both are the longest of his career.
- Ward posted his sixth two-hit game and his 15th multi-hit game of the year.
- Ciliento recorded his fifth three-hit game and his 13th multi-hit game of the year. He now has multiple hits in four of his last five games.
- Kelly recorded three hits for the fourth time this season. He has seven multi-hit games this year.
- He hit his first home run since Mar. 10 at Maryland and drove in three runs for the third time this year.
- Kelly is now 3-for-3 in stolen bases this season.
- Wright posted multiple hits for the eighth time this year and the third time in four games.
- Wright has hit safely in seven straight and reached safely in nine straight.
- Angelini collected multiple hits for the fifth time this year and the 45th time in his career.
- Angelini has now reached safely in 15-straight games.
Bryant travels to Teaneck, New Jersey, for a Northeast Conference series against Fairleigh Dickinson this weekend. The four-game series is scheduled to begin Friday afternoon at 3:00 p.m.