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Bryant welcomes Wagner in battle for first

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SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Tied for first place in the league standings, the Bryant University baseball team welcomes Wagner College to Conaty Park this weekend for the biggest Northeast Conference series of the year.

Bryant and Wagner will play a three-game series that begins on Friday at 3:00 p.m. It will continue on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. and conclude on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

The Particulars

Opponent: Wagner

Location: Conaty Park (Smithfield, R.I.)

Time: 3:00 p.m. | 1:00 p.m. | 1:00 p.m.

Live Stats: Game 1 | Game 2 | Game 3

Video: NECFrontRow

Game Notes: Bryant | Wagner

Pitching Probables

Friday – Steve Theetge (4-7, 4.61) vs. Eric Ligda (6-2, 5.00)

Saturday – Jack Patterson (5-2, 3.74) vs. Neil Abbatiello (7-0, 3.78)

Sunday – Vito Morgese (5-1, 4.31) vs. Pat Gallagher (3-3, 6.90)

Bryant will roll out three lefties against the Seahawks this weekend, Steve Theetge (Syracuse, N.Y.), Jack Patterson (Suffield, Conn.) and Vito Morgese (Warwick, N.Y.). All three started games against Wagner in late March in Brooklyn, with Morgese earning the lone win with seven innings of one-run ball. Patterson, however, has been one of the best pitchers in the NEC the last five weeks, striking out an average of nine batters per game.

The Bulldogs will face familiar faces as Eric Ligda, Neil Abbatiello and Pat Gallagher will start for the Seahawks. Ligda allowed six runs on seven hits over five innings in a no decision against Bryant earlier this year, while Abbatiello limited Bryant to two runs on one over six innings. Gallagher earned his first-career win against Bryant, tossing 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.  

Series History with Wagner

  • Bryant holds a 27-11 lead in the all-time series with Wagner.
  • The two teams met in late March, with the Seahawks winning two-of-three.
  • Bryant and Wagner have met in three of the last four NEC Tournaments.

Title Implications

  • Bryant and Wagner enter the weekend tied for first place with 17-5 records.
  • The winner of the series will enter the final weekend of play with the upper hand.

The First Time They Met

  • Wagner won the first two games of the series in March, 8-6 and 3-2. Bryant won the series finale, 3-1.
  • The Bulldogs led the first game 6-3 after five innings but the Seahawks scored twice in the sixth and three times in the seventh to earn the win.
  • Wagner scored three times in the first inning and held on to win game two of the series, 3-2.
  • A leadoff home run from redshirt freshman Ryan Ward (Millbury, Mass.) and seven innings of one-run ball from Morgese led the way to Bryant's victory in the series finale.

Bulldog Notes and Notables

  • The Bulldogs enter the weekend leading the NEC with a .306 batting average and a 4.66 team ERA.
  • In NEC games, Bryant is hitting .315 and has posted a league-leading 2.82 ERA.
  • Bryant enters the weekend with the top three hitters in terms of batting average in the NEC. Ward leads the league with a .415 average, sophomore James Ciliento (Mahwah, N.J.) is second with a .362 average and senior Mickey Gasper (Merrimack, N.H.) is third with a .353 average.
  • Ward still ranks first nationally in hits (86) and hits per game and is third nationally in total bases (141). In NEC-only games, Ward is hitting a robust .479.
  • Gasper is on a remarkable 18-game stretch, one in which he's hitting .483 with a .917 slugging percentage and a .600 OBP. He leads the league in OBP in both overall and NEC-only games at .479 and .520, respectively.

Scouting the Seahawks

  • The Seahawks have been one of the best teams in the league all season. They enter the weekend with a program record 32 victories.
  • Last weekend, Wagner split a four-game series with LIU Brooklyn.
  • Wagner is hitting .277 as a team and has posted a team ERA of 4.75.
  • In league play, the Seahawks are hitting .291 with a team ERA of 3.93.
  • Phil Capra is hitting a team-high .335 with 12 doubles, 12 home runs, 53 RBI and a .433 OBP.
  • Freddy Sabido has 16 doubles, and 40 RBI overall, and is hitting a team-best .439 in NEC games.