SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The Bryant University baseball team returns to Northeast Conference play this weekend as it hosts Sacred Heart in a four-game series from Friday-Sunday.
Bryant and Sacred Heart open the series on Friday afternoon at 3:00 p.m.
Opponent: Sacred Heart
Location: Conaty Park (Smithfield, R.I.)
Times: 3 p.m. | 1 p.m. (DH) | 1 p.m.
Video (All 3 days): NECFrontRow
Game Notes: Bryant | Sacred Heart
Friday – Steve Theetge (3-6, 4.96) vs. James Taubl (1-4, 5.28)
Saturday (Gm 1) – Tyler Mattison (3-1, 4.20) vs. Brent Teller (2-4, 6.06)
Saturday (Gm 2) – Vito Morgese (3-1, 5.32) vs. Cooper Thompson (2-2, 4.28)
Sunday – Jack Patterson (3-2, 4.84) vs. Ryan LaMay (0-0, 6.35)
Bryant will go with the same rotation for the second-straight weekend. Junior Steve Theetge (Syracuse, N.Y.) will look to continue his winning ways, as he has won each of his last three starts and has thrown seven innings in each of his last three starts. He's 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA in three career appearances against Sacred Heart. Freshman Tyler Mattison (Fort Ann, N.Y.) has struck out 12 without issuing a walk over his last two starts and senior Jack Patterson (Suffield, Conn.) has struck out 20 in his last 13 innings.
For Sacred Heart, veterans James Taubl and Brent Teller open the series. Both have had success against Bryant in their careers. Taubl earned a complete-game victory in Smithfield in 2016 and fired six innings of one-run ball last year. In between, the Bulldogs scored seven runs on nine hits against him. Teller faced Bryant three times last season, allowing three earned runs or less in all three starts. He pitched seven innings of two-run ball to beat the Black and Gold in the 2017 NEC Tournament.
- Bryant holds a 26-15 lead in 41 career meetings with Sacred Heart at the Division I level.
- The two teams met seven times last season, six during the regular season and once in the NEC Tournament.
- Bryant and Sacred Heart have formed one of the league's premier rivalries after meeting in the NEC Championship round in 2013, 2014 and 2015. The Bulldogs have won five of the seven meetings in the NEC Tournament.
Bulldog Notes and Notables
- The Bulldogs enter the weekend with a 19-14-1 overall record and 10-4 mark in NEC play.
- Bryant has won five-straight, is 8-1-1 in the month of April and 10-1-1 in their last 12.
- Bryant is one game behind Wagner for first place and is two games up on LIU Brooklyn for second place.
- Bryant has scored 9+ runs in eight of its last 12 games.
- The Black and Gold rank sixth nationally in batting average (.318), 13th in slugging percentage (.473) and 18th in doubles per game (2.21).
- Redshirt freshman Ryan Ward (Millbury, Mass.) will bring a 20-game hitting streak and a 30-game on-base streak into the weekend. He has reached safely in 33-of-34 games this year.
- Ward was named the NEC Player/Rookie of the Week and a Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week on Monday.
- Ward ranks first nationally in hits/game (1.91), third in hits (65), third in total bases (111), fifth in average (.428), fifth in doubles (17) and is the 12th toughest hitter to strike out (16.9).
- Sophomore Chris Wright (Cumberland, R.I.) also brings a lengthy hitting streak into the weekend. He has hit safely in a career-high 12-straight games and has collected an RBI in each of his last nine games.
- Classmate Gaby Cruz (Miami, Fla.) has also been an RBI machine, posting an RBI in 10 of his last 12 games. Cruz is now hitting .386 with 20 RBI and a .443 OBP.
- Junior Nick Angelini (Bedford, N.H.) moved into fourth place in DI program history with 42 career stolen bases. He leads the team with 14 on the year.
- Senior Mickey Gasper (Merrimack, N.H.) posted his third four-hit game of the year on Wednesday and is now hitting a season-high .331 with nine doubles, three home runs, 34 runs scored and a .442 OBP.
Scouting the Pioneers
- Sacred Heart enters the weekend with a 9-20 record overall and a 4-5 mark in NEC play.
- The Pioneers are hitting .258 as a team and has a 6.42 team ERA.
- Sacred Heart won its most recent NEC series, taking 3-of-4 from Central Connecticut two weeks ago.
- Dan Schock leads the Pioneers with a .324 average, seven doubles, seven home runs, 28 RBI and 20 runs scored.
- Elijah Brown, a Bishop Hendricken graduate, has 19 walks, 23 runs scored and 10 stolen bases.
- Jack Frasca has been reliable out of the bullpen, posting a 2.16 ERA in seven appearances.