STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Junior Gaby Cruz (Miami, Fla.) hit a three-run home run in the top of the ninth to lift the Bryant University baseball team to a 5-4 victory in game one, while a four-run eighth inning propelled the Bulldogs to a doubleheader sweep of Wagner College on Saturday afternoon.
With the two wins, the Black and Gold have clinched the series and have won 30+ games in 11 of the last 13 seasons. Bryant also improved to 12-2 in the Northeast Conference.
Bryant trailed 4-1 entering the eighth inning but Cruz changed all that as he hit a solo home run to lead off the eighth before his three-run home run in the ninth put the Bulldogs on top.
In game two, Bryant led 3-0 before Wagner scored four times in the bottom of the seventh to take the lead. The Black and Gold responded with four runs in the top of the eighth and then held on for an 8-6 victory.
Game 1 – Bryant 5, Wagner 4
Game 2 – Bryant 8, Wagner 6
Records: Bryant (29-13, 11-2 NEC), Wagner (15-22, 8-8 NEC)
Location: Richmond County Bank Ballpark (Staten Island, N.Y.)
W|L|S: Jack Owens (4-1) | Nick Robino (2-2) | Chris Wright (10)
W|L|S: Jackson Harrigan (1-0) | Ryan Lauk (2-4) | Matthew Stansky (2)
Coach Owens' Comments
"Steve hung in after a tough start and Jack Owens and Chris Wright came in and saved the game. Gaby was huge in game one with two home runs. Tyler Mattison gave us a great start in game two and Jim, Chris and Wardo did the damage on offense."
Key Moments (Game 1)
- With Bryant trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the eighth, Jack Owens (Scituate, R.I.) came out of the bullpen to strikeout back-to-back batters and strand runners on 2nd and 3rd.
- In the top of the ninth, Cruz delivered the decisive blow with a three-run home run to center field.
How it Happened (Game 1)
- Wagner opened game one with two runs in the first and two more in the second. In the first, two singles and a double down the left field line plated the first run. A ground out to short made it 2-0.
- In the second, the first two batters reached before a sac bunt and a sac fly scored a run. A single to right center made it 4-0.
- Bryant was held hitless until senior Nick Angelini (Bedford, N.H.) singled in the fifth. After a walk put two on, freshman Jake Gustin (Peabody, Mass.) singled through the right side to score Angelini. The inning ended abruptly as Gustin was tagged out at second.
- Cruz made it a 4-2 game with a leadoff home run to dead center in the 8th.
- In the ninth, Chris Wright (Cumberland, R.I.) singled to lead off the inning and Angelini walked with one out. Cruz then lifted a high fly ball to center that hit off the fence and bounced over for a three-run home run.
- Wright then took to the mound in the bottom of the ninth and struck out the side, stranding runners on 1st and 2nd, to end the game.
Stats (Game 1)
- Wagner outhit Bryant, 11-6.
- Steve Theetge (Syracuse, N.Y.) allowed four runs on 10 hits, issued no walks and struck out four over 7 1/3 innings.
- Owens entered with runners on 2nd and 3rd and out in the eighth and struck out the two batters he faced to end the inning.
- Wright struck out the side in the ninth to earn his 10th save.
- Angelini finished 1-for-3 with two runs scored.
- Cruz went 2-for-3 with two home runs and four RBI.
- Gustin was 1-for-4 with an RBI.
Key Moment (Game 2)
- After surrendering a three-run lead, freshman Brian Nicolas (Langhorne, Pa.) doubled home the tying run and scored to give Bryant the lead for good in the top of the eighth.
How it Happened (Game 2)
- Bryant got on the board first as Angelini drew a bases-loaded walk in the fourth. Nicolas then drove in a run with a fielder's choice and a double steal scored the third run of the inning.
- Wagner took the lead with a four-run seventh. Freddy Sabido scored the first run of the inning with a single and a ground out made it 3-2. Will Johnson's two-run single made it 4-3.
- Nicolas tied the game with a double and then scored on an infield error to make it 5-4. The Seahawks issued two intentional walks to load the bases and Wright made them pay, singling in two to make it 7-4.
- The Seahawks plated a run in the bottom of the eighth but an RBI single from redshirt sophomore Ryan Ward (Millbury, Mass.) made it 8-5 heading into the bottom of the ninth.
- Wagner scored once and had the bases loaded but sophomore Matthew Stansky (Douglas, Mass.) got a fly ball to center to end the game.
Stats (Game 2)
- Bryant and Wagner both finished with 10 hits.
- Sophomore Tyler Mattison (Fort Ann, N.Y.) allowed three hits, walked four and struck out five over six scoreless innings.
- Harrigan allowed one unearned run over 0.2 innings to record the win.
- Junior Jack Ipsen (Eatontown, N.J.) allowed one run on one hit over 1.2 innings.
- Stansky recorded the final out of the game to earn his second save.
- Ward went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored.
- Redshirt sophomore Jimmy Titus (Stafford, Conn.) went 2-for-3 with a run scored.
- Wright was 2-for-5 with two RBI.
- Nicolas went 2-for-5 with two RBI.
Notes and Notables
- Bryant is 31-13 all-time against Wagner.
- Bryant has now hit 69 home runs on the year.
- Bryant has now won or tied 68 of their 72 NEC series.
- Bryant has now won 30 or more games in 11 of the last 13 seasons.
- Ward now has 32 hits over his last 15 games. He's hit safely in all 15 of those contests.
- With his fifth-inning run in game one, Angelini became Bryant's DI leader in career runs scored. He has scored 174 times in his career.
- Cruz posted his first-career multi-homer game in the first game on Saturday. He tied his career high with four RBI.
- Wright has now reached in each of his last 31 games.
- Harrigan earned his first collegiate victory in game two on Saturday.
- Stansky's two saves have come in the last two weeks.
- Mattison has allowed three runs or less in each of his last six starts.
Bryant and Wagner wrap up their three-game series on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.