SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The Bryant University baseball team welcomes Central Connecticut to Conaty Park for a pivotal four-game Northeast Conference series starting on Friday afternoon.
Bryant and CCSU will open the series Friday at 2:00 p.m. before playing two seven-inning games on Saturday and a single nine-inning game on Sunday. The Bulldogs are the defending NEC Regular-Season champs, while the Blue Devils are the defending NEC Tournament champs.
Opponents: Central Connecticut
Location: Conaty Park (Smithfield, R.I.)
Times: 2:00 p.m. | 1:00 p.m. (DH) | 1:00 p.m.
Live Stats: BryantBulldogs.com
Game Notes: Bryant | CCSU
Friday – Steve Theetge (3-6, 4.66) vs. Brandon Fox (1-2, 3.76)
Saturday (Gm 1) – Tyler Mattison (4-1, 3.89) vs. Kyle Anderson (0-2, 2.89)
Saturday (Gm 2) – Vito Morgese (3-1, 5.26) vs. TBA
Sunday – Jack Patterson (4-2, 4.53) vs. TBA
Bryant's weekend rotation remains the same for the third-straight weekend. The Bulldogs have received consistent outings from all four starters, including seven innings each from junior Steve Theetge (Syracuse, N.Y.) and senior Jack Patterson (Suffield, Conn.) last weekend. Freshman Tyler Mattison (Fort Ann, N.Y.) continues to pitch well against NEC competition and brings a 1.66 ERA into Saturday's start. He has struck out 23 and walked just five in 21 2/3 innings.
CCSU has just two weekend starters scheduled as of Thursday, Brandon Fox and Kyle Anderson. Fox was named NEC Co-Pitcher of the Week on Monday after throwing nine scoreless innings of an eventual 12-inning loss last Friday vs. LIU Brooklyn. Fox has pitched well in NEC play, posting a 2.30 ERA in 31 1/3 innings. Anderson started the season in the bullpen but has started the last three weekends.
- Bryant holds a 28-10 lead in the all-time series with Central Connecticut.
- The Bulldogs and Blue Devils split a four-game series last season in New Britain. Bryant won the first two games before the Blue Devils came back to win the final two.
Bulldog Notes and Notables
- The Bulldogs enter the weekend with a 13-5 record in the NEC, good for second place.
- Bryant is coming off an 8-6 loss to URI on Tuesday afternoon in Kingston.
- In NEC-only games, the Bulldogs are hitting .322 with 54 doubles, eight triples, 18 home runs and 153 runs scored. The Black and Gold also lead the league with a 3.37 ERA in league games.
- Redshirt freshman Ryan Ward (Millbury, Mass.) was named the NEC Rookie of the Week for the fourth-straight week on Monday. He has hit safely in 25-straight games and reached safely in 35-straight games.
- Ward leads the nation in hits, hits per game and total bases. He ranks sixth in a single season in DI program history in hits and his 128 total bases are 10 shy of the single season record.
- In NEC play, Ward is hitting .513 with 14 doubles, five home runs, 24 RBI and 25 runs scored.
- Sophomore Gaby Cruz (Miami, Fla.) is hitting .421 with seven doubles and 20 RBI in league play.
- Ward, Cruz, senior Mickey Gasper (Merrimack, N.H.) and sophomore Chris Wright (Cumberland, R.I.) rank 1-4 in the league in RBI.
- Gasper now has 11 doubles, two triples, four home runs and a team-leading 40 runs scored.
Scouting the Blue Devils
- CCSU enters the weekend with a 13-19 overall record and an 8-9 record in league play.
- Central is hitting .274 as a team and has posted a 5.14 team ERA.
- Dean Lockery is hitting a team-best .339 with 41 hits, 15 RBI and 32 runs scored.
- Nick Garland leads the team with 21 RBI, while Mitch Guilmette has a team-leading for home runs.
- Jared Gallagher has been one of the top relievers, posting a 2-0 record and two saves on the year. He has struck out 21 and walked only four in 18 2/3 innings.
- As a staff, CCSU has walked just 107 batters.