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Baseball takes series from Virginia Tech with 4-2 win

Cynthia Herrick Photo
Cynthia Herrick Photo

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Outstanding pitching and defense was once again the story as the Bryant University baseball team earned its first-ever series victory over an ACC school with a 4-2 win over Virginia Tech in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader.

The Bulldogs took two-of-three from a Hokies team that entered the weekend at 7-0 on the year. Bryant had never earned a series win over a team from the ACC in program history.

In the series finale, Bryant's bullpen shined bright once again as three relievers combined to hold the Hokies to just one hit over the final 4 1/3 innings. Senior Nathan Wrighter (Windsor, N.Y.) earned his first win of the year with 2 1/3 scoreless, while juniors Jack Ipsen (Eatontown, N.J.) and Chris Wright (Cumberland, R.I.) closed the game with back-to-back perfect innings.

Bryant's offense was buoyed by the hot bat of freshman Vincenzo Castronovo (Utica, N.Y.). Making his first-career start, Castronovo doubled twice, drove in a run and scored a run in the series finale and has started his collegiate career 5-for-8.      

Game Information
Bryant 4, Virginia Tech 2
Records: Bryant (4-5), Virginia Tech (8-2)
Location: English Field (Blacksburg, Va.)
W|L|S: Nathan Wrighter (1-1) | Luke Scherzer (1-1) | Chris Wright (3)

Coach Owens' Comments

"We scored in multiple innings and kept the lead for the entire game. We were able to get some big hits and manufacture runs one at a time. We got a good start from Vito and our bullpen did a really nice job. They did what they needed to do. Our pitching staff got themselves up to another level this weekend. This was a really hard weekend. It was very tough to score runs. I'm very proud of how our team played this weekend."

Key Moment

  • Trailing 2-1 in the fourth, the Hokies loaded the bases with no outs. The Bulldogs were able to get out of it, however, as junior Vito Morgese (Warwick, N.Y.) got a strikeout, a foul pop out and a fly ball to right. The Bulldogs would respond by scoring single runs in the fifth and sixth.   

How it Happened

  • The Bulldogs scored first for the third-straight game, plating a run in the second. Wright was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored as Castronovo beat the shift with a sharp RBI double into right center.
  • Virginia Tech was able to tie the game in the third. Menken doubled down the left field line, moved to third on a sac bunt and scored on an infield single.
  • Bryant quickly regained the lead in the top of the fourth. Redshirt sophomore Jimmy Titus (Stafford, Conn.) and Wright both singled to open the inning before a sac bunt advanced them. After Castronovo was intentionally walked, senior Nick Angelini (Bedford, N.H.) drove in a run with a ground out.
  • The Hokies tried to answer in the fourth, loading the bases with no outs. Morgese buckled down, however, getting a strikeout and a foul pop before classmate James Ciliento (Mahwah, N.J.) made a sliding catch in right to end the inning.
  • Ciliento then opened the fifth with a double and came around to score on a passed ball to make it 3-1.
  • Kerry Carpenter made it a 3-2 game with a home run to right center in the bottom half of the inning.
  • Castronovo helped Bryant extend its lead in the sixth as he roped a ground-rule double down the right field line. He would come around to score on a sac fly from senior Tyler Panno (Rivervale, N.J.).

Stats

  • Bryant outhit Virginia Tech, 7-6.
  • The Bulldogs did not commit an error for the third-straight game.
  • Morgese allowed two runs on five hits over 4 2/3 innings. He walked three and struck out two.
  • Wrighter retired seven of the eight batters he faced in relief.
  • Ipsen needed just 13 pitches to retire the Hokies in order in the eighth.
  • Wright struck out two in a perfect ninth to earn his second save of the weekend and third of the year.
  • Ciliento reached twice with a double and a walk.
  • Titus went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored.
  • Castronovo went 2-for-3 with two doubles, an RBI and a run scored.   

Notes and Notables

  • Bryant won a series against an ACC team for the first time in program history.
  • Bryant is now 6-4 all-time against Virginia Tech.
  • Each of Bryant's last four games has been decided by two runs or less.
  • Wright earned two saves on the weekend, striking out five of the eight batters he faced.
  • Wrighter tossed 4 1/3 scoreless innings of relief on the weekend. He allowed two hits, didn't walk a batter and struck out four.
  • Castronovo registered his first-career multi-hit game.
  • Titus registered his third multi-hit game of the year and the 25th of his career.
  • Ciliento finished the weekend 4-for-13 with four runs scored.
  • Bryant's pitching staff held Virginia Tech to a .205 average and just eight total runs on the weekend.

Up Next

Bryant begins its spring break trip with a three-game series at CAA preseason favorite Elon. The Bulldogs and Phoenix open the series Friday afternoon at 4:00 p.m.