SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The Bryant University baseball team opens the 2019 season on Friday as it begins a three-game series at Abilene Christian.
Opponent: Abilene Christian
Location: Crutcher Scott Field
Date and Times: Feb. 15 – 4 PM EST | Feb. 16 – 3 PM EST | Feb. 17 12 PM EST
Watch: Stretch Internet
Live Stats: Gm 1 | Gm 2 | Gm 3
Game Notes: Bryant
Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | #TCD | #NECBASE
Pitching Probables (2018 numbers*)
Friday – RHP Tyler Mattison (5-2, 3.40 ERA) vs. RHP Spencer Chirpich (6-2, 3.50 ERA)
Saturday – LHP Vito Morgese (5-2, 3.82 ERA) vs. LHP Derek Scott (1-3, 5.40 ERA)
Sunday – LHP Steve Theetge (6-7, 4.02 ERA) vs. TBA
Bryant announced its weekend rotation on Thursday and Mattison will be the first sophomore to start on Opening Day since 2016. Last spring, Mattison earned All-NEC Second Team and Freshman All-American honors after striking out 53 in 53 innings. Morgese won five games a season ago, finishing second on the team with 73 strikeouts. Theetge enters his final season fourth in DI program history with 23 victories and ranks in the top 10 in program history in innings pitched and strikeouts.
Chirpich is in his first season at ACU after transferring from North Iowa Area CC where he struck out 67 in 61 2/3 innings. Scott is a two-way player that made just 12 appearances last season.
- Bryant and Abilene Christian will be meeting for the first time in program history on Friday.
- The Wildcats will be the third member of the Southland Conference that Bryant has faced, however.
- The Black and Gold opened the 2013 season at Houston Baptist and played Southeastern Louisiana in the 2014 NCAA Baton Rouge Regional.
Bulldog Notes and Notables
- Bryant has been tabbed as the Northeast Conference preseason favorite by the NEC coaches and all major national outlets (Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, D1Baseball.com, Perfect Game and Baseball America).
- The Bulldogs won 32 games a season ago, capturing their seventh-straight NEC Regular-Season title. It is the longest active streak in the country.
- Redshirt sophomore Ryan Ward (Millbury, Mass.) is back after earning Collegiate Baseball Co-National Freshman Player of the Year honors last year. He hit .409 with 101 hits, 22 doubles, five triples, eight home runs and 52 RBI.
- All-NEC First Team outfielder James Ciliento (Mahwah, N.J.) is also back after hitting .377 with a .448 OBP.
- Senior Nick Angelini (Bedford, N.H.) has scored 40+ runs in all three seasons at Bryant and is the Bulldogs' active leader in stolen bases with 43.
- In total, Bryant welcomes back 10 players that have started more than 20 games in their career.
Scouting the Wildcats
- Rick McCarty begins his first season as the head coach at ACU after spending the last three seasons as the pitching coach at Dallas Baptist. He helped DBU reach the NCAA Tournament all three years.
- The Wildcats will be opening just their second season as a full Division I member. They began the transition from Division II in 2012-13 and played their first full season last spring.
- ACU went 21-33 overall and 5-25 in the Southland in 2018.
- Dalon Farkas has earned preseason All-Southland honors after posting 22 doubles, six home runs and 35 RBI last season.
- As a team, the Wildcats hit .274 and posted a 5.88 team ERA.
The Bulldogs continue their season-opening 18-game road trip with a three-game series at No. 1 LSU next weekend. The series opens on Friday, Feb. 22.