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ACU tops Bryant with eighth-inning rally

ACU tops Bryant with eighth-inning rally

ABILENE, Texas – Abilene Christian erased a two-run deficit with a four-run eighth and went on to defeat the Bryant University baseball team, 8-6, on Saturday afternoon at Crutcher Scott Field.

The Wildcats erased three different two-run deficits and took advantage of 11 walks issued by Bulldog pitchers. In the decisive eighth, a hit batter and a single opened the inning and Luis Trevino plated the first run with a double down the left field line. Koby Claborn then gave the Wildcats their only lead of the game with a three-run double into the left field corner.

Junior James Ciliento (Mahwah, N.J.) was one of three Bryant players to post multiple hits and finished with three runs scored. Senior Nick Angelini (Bedford, N.H.) drove in two runs and freshman Jake Gustin (Peabody, Mass.) hit his first career home run.

Game Information
Abilene Christian 8, Bryant 6
Records: Bryant (1-1), ACU (1-1)
Location: Crutcher Scott Field (Abilene, Texas)
W|L|S: Kenny Otero (1-0) | John MacDonald (0-1) | Brennan Lewis (1)

Coach Owens' Comments

"Disappointed in the outcome. We've played in front for 16 innings until the eighth inning. Way too many free passes with walks and hit batters. Our offense was good, we played errorless defense but we just didn't pitch well enough to win today. Tomorrow is a big day for us. We're going to refocus and try and come out of here with a series victory."

Key Moments

  • Claborn delivered the decisive blow on Saturday as he ripped a 1-0 pitch into the left field corner to clear the bases and give ACU the lead.  

How it Happened

  • Bryant plated two runs in the first inning for the second straight day on Saturday. Ciliento opened the game with a first-pitch double and junior Chris Wright (Cumberland, R.I.) walked before a sac fly from Angelini and a ground out from Jimmy Titus (Stafford, Conn.) scored them.
  • ACU was able to erase the deficit with single runs in the first and second. A two-out RBI single in the first plated the first run and back-to-back two-out walks opened the door for an RBI single in the second.
  • Gustin quickly put the Bulldogs back in front as he led off the top of the third with a mammoth home run to right field. Bryant would add a second run on a sac fly from Angelini.
  • The score remained until ACU plated two runs without the benefit of a hit in the sixth. Three walks loaded the bases and a wild pitch scored the first run. A sac fly then tied the game.
  • Bryant responded in the next half inning, this time scoring two runs with two outs. Senior Tyler Panno (Rivervale, N.J.) stole second and scored on a two-out single from Ciliento. Wright followed with a single up the middle to score Ciliento and make it 6-4.
  • ACU erased the deficit with a four-run eighth inning.   


  • Bryant outhit ACU, 10-9.
  • A day after combining for seven errors, Bryant and ACU played errorless defense.
  • Bryant pitchers walked 11 and hit two more on the day.
  • Junior Vito Morgese (Warwick, N.Y.) allowed just two runs on five hits over five innings but walked six. He struck out two.
  • Redshirt sophomore Nash Eppard (Essex, Conn.) retired both batters he faced.
  • Despite suffering the loss, freshman John MacDonald (Stamford, Conn.) posted the first three strikeouts of his career in the eighth.
  • Ciliento finished with two hits, three runs scored and also walked.
  • Wright went 2-for-3 with a walk.
  • Angelini drove in a pair of runs with sac flies.
  • Sophomore Shane Kelly (Sewell, N.J.) collected a pair of singles.
  • Gustin finished 1-for-4 with his first career home run.
  • Freshman Vincenzo Castronovo (Utica, N.Y.) collected his first career hit with a pinch-hit single in the ninth.

Notes and Notables

  • Ciliento extended his hitting streak to eight games and his on-base streak to nine games dating back to last year.
  • Panno has now reached safely in a career-high 16-straight games dating back to last year.  

Up Next

Bryant and Abilene Christian wrap up their series on Sunday. The rubber match is set for 12:00 p.m. EST.