NORWICH, Conn. – The top-seeded Bryant University baseball team jumped out to a 3-0 lead but third-seeded LIU Brooklyn scored in five-straight innings to earn a 13-4 victory in the winner's bracket of the Northeast Conference Baseball Championships on Friday afternoon at Dodd Stadium.
With the loss, the Bulldogs will now face second-seeded Wagner in an elimination game on Saturday at 12:00 p.m. The winner of that game will face the Blackbirds at 4:00 p.m. in the championship round.
On Friday, the Black and Gold led 3-0 after 2 1/2 innings but the Blackbirds scored in each of the next five innings, including seven in the sixth, to advance to the title round for the first time since 1996.
Redshirt freshman Ryan Ward (Millbury, Mass.) made history in defeat, collecting his 99th hit of the season to tie the program record for base knocks in a single season.
Bryant 4, LIU Brooklyn 13
Records: Bryant (32-22-1), LIU Brooklyn (30-24)
Location: Dodd Stadium (Norwich, Conn.)
W|L|S: Zach Pederson (6-4) | Jack Patterson (6-3) | Rob Griswold (2)
- With the game tied at 3-3 in the fifth, the Bulldogs brought the infield in with runners on second and third and one out. Dom Paiotti then got jammed but, with the infield in, the ball landed out of the reach of three Bryant players, giving the Blackbirds the lead.
How it happened
- Bryant jumped on the board with two runs in the top of the first. Ward put runners on second and third with a slicing double to left and freshman Shane Kelly (Sewell, N.J.) scored both with a two-strike double down the left field line.
- Senior Mickey Gasper (Merrimack, N.H.) extended Bryant's lead with a monstrous solo home run to right field to lead off the third.
- The Blackbirds answered with the next five runs. In the third, three-straight singles made it a 3-2 game. In the fourth, Anthony Warneke doubled home a run to tie the game.
- LIU Brooklyn then took the lead with two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Luis Arias doubled down the third base line to put runners on second and third and Dom Paiotti followed with a bloop to shallow left that fell between three fielders. A sac fly from Greg Vaughn made it 5-3.
- The Blackbirds opened the game up with five runs in the bottom of the sixth. Joe Mercadante was hit by a pitch to open the inning, moved to second on a sac bunt and scored on a single from Alex Briggs. Modica and Paiotti added RBI singles and Vaughn drove in two with a wind-aided double. The final two runs scored on an error and an interference call.
- In the ninth, sophomore James Ciliento (Mahwah, N.J.) doubled and came around to score on a single from Gasper.
- LIU Brooklyn outhit Bryant, 18-9.
- Senior Jack Patterson (Suffield, Conn.) struck out 11 over five innings. He allowed five runs on 11 hits and didn't walk a batter.
- Patterson recorded the first eight outs of the game via the strikeout.
- Gasper went 3-for-5 with a home run, two runs scored and two RBI.
- Ward finished 1-for-4 with a run scored.
- Kelly drove in two with a double.
- The Bulldogs are now 14-6 in the NEC Tournament.
- Bryant is now 1-2 against LIU Brooklyn in the NEC Tournament. The Bulldogs are
- Ward now has 99 hits on the season, the most in the nation. He is also tied for the program record in hits with Jeff Renga ('02).
- Gasper collected three hits for the 6th time this year. It was his 51st career multi-hit game.
- Sophomore Chris Wright (Cumberland, R.I.) extended his hitting streak to 14 games. It is the longest streak of his career.
- Kelly registered his seventh multi-RBI game of the year. He now has five RBI in two NEC Tournament games.
- Patterson struck out 10+ batters for the fourth time this season. The 11 strikeouts are one shy of his career high.
- Patterson now has 101 strikeouts on the season, becoming just the second pitcher in program history to record 100+ strikeouts in a single season.
Bryant will face Wagner in an elimination game on Saturday at 12:00 p.m.