BLACKSBURG, Va. – Junior James Ciliento (Mahwah, N.J.) had three hits and scored three runs, while four relievers combined to allow just one hit over the final six innings as the Bryant University baseball team handed Virginia Tech its first loss, 6-4, Friday night at English Field.
Friday's game was originally scheduled for a 3:00 p.m. first pitch but didn't start until 7:02 p.m. The game then lasted over four hours and was played in a steady rain for the first three innings. Bryant is now 5-3 all-time against the Hokies.
**Due to impending bad weather on Sunday, Bryant and Virginia Tech will finish their weekend series on Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at 2:00 p.m.**
Ciliento set the table for Bryant's offense on Friday, reaching four times and scoring three times from the leadoff spot. He also added two stolen bases. Ciliento opened the decisive seventh with a sharp single, scampered to third on a single and scored the eventual winning run on a single to left.
The quartet of freshman John MacDonald (Stamford, Conn.), sophomore Tyler Schoff (Lee Center, N.Y.), senior Nathan Wrighter (Windsor, N.Y.) and junior Chris Wright (Cumberland, R.I.) did the rest. They combined to walk six, strike out six and allow just one hit over the final six innings. Schoff earned his first-career win with 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, while Wright struck out the side in the ninth to earn his second save.
Coach Owens' Comments
"It was a tough game in tough conditions. Our hitters did a really good job battling and we got some big hits. Chris had a big double and was able to close the game out. James and Sam had a great day at the plate. Really pleased with the results out of our bullpen. John, Tyler, Nate and Chris put up zeroes and only issued one hit. It's always important to win on Friday. It gets you feeling good about yourself. It's a good win against a very good team. We'll try to get some rest we look forward to the opportunity to get back at it tomorrow."
- Schoff kept the game tied by inducing double plays in the fifth and sixth innings. In the sixth, he escaped a bases-loaded jam with a 6-4-3 twin killing.
- In the seventh, redshirt sophomore Ryan Ward (Millbury, Mass.) found a plot of land between three defenders down the left field line to score the eventual game-winning run.
How it Happened
- Bryant grabbed the lead with some good baserunning in the first inning. Ciliento doubled to open the inning and was at third when redshirt sophomore Jimmy Titus (Stafford, Conn.) took off from first. The Hokies chose to throw to second and Ciliento alertly scampered home with the first run.
- The Bulldogs extended the lead to 4-0 with a three-run third. Wright came through with a two-out, two-RBI double off the base of the right field wall. Sophomore Sam Owens (Scituate, R.I.) capped the inning with a two-strike, two-out single to center to make it 4-0.
- Virginia Tech was able to tie the game with four runs in the bottom of the third. Two walks and an infield miscue loaded the bases before a third walk scored the first Hokie run. After a strikeout, Carson Taylor and Nick Biddison delivered two-out singles to tie the game at 4-4.
- Schoff then kept the game tied as he induced double-play balls to end the fifth and sixth. He entered with a 2-0 count on the batter and two on in the fifth only to get a 6-3 double play on his first pitch.
- In the sixth, the Hokies loaded the bases with one out but Schoff battled back from 3-0 down before inducing a ground ball to short that Titus and Gustin turned into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
- Bryant used that momentum to take the lead back in the top of the seventh. Ciliento singled and went to third as freshman Jake Gustin (Peabody, Mass.) singled to right field. Ward then blooped a single in between three fielders on the left field line to break the tie. Titus followed with an RBI single of his own to make it 6-4.
- Wrighter and Wright did the rest, combining for six strikeouts over the final three innings.
- Bryant outhit Virginia Tech, 11-5.
- The Bulldogs didn't commit an error, while the Hokies made four.
- Bryant stole five bases in the game and has 11 in the last two.
- Sophomore Tyler Mattison (Fort Ann, N.Y.) allowed four runs on four hits, walked three and struck out three over three innings.
- MacDonald walked two in 1.1 innings of scoreless relief.
- Schoff worked 1.2 hitless innings of relief. He walked two and induced two double plays.
- Wrighter allowed one single and struck out three as he tossed scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth.
- Wright walked two in the ninth but struck out the side to earn the save. He also clubbed a two-run double in the third.
- Ciliento finished 3-for-4 with a double, three runs scored and two stolen bases.
- Gustin reached twice, stole a base and scored twice.
- Ward and Titus each contributed run-scoring singles in the seventh.
- Owens had three hits and drove in a run.
Notes and Notables
- Bryant is now 5-3 all-time against Virginia Tech.
- The Bulldogs have stolen 20 bases through the first seven games.
- Schoff earned his first collegiate victory on Friday night. It was his fourth career appearance.
- Wright has recorded eight outs this season and six have been strikeouts.
- Wright also leads Bryant in doubles (3) and RBI (8).
- Ciliento has already set a career-high with six stolen bases on the season.
- Ward has a hit in each of his last nine games dating back to last year.
- Wrighter has pitched more than an inning in all three of his appearances this season.
Bryant and Virginia Tech will wrap up their series with a doubleheader on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on Saturday.