NORWICH, Conn. – The Bryant University baseball team begins its quest for a Northeast Conference Championship when it opens the 2019 NEC Baseball Championships on Thursday afternoon at Dodd Stadium in Norwich.
The 2019 NEC Baseball Championships is a four-team double elimination tournament that takes place from Thursday through Sunday. Tickets to the 2019 NEC Baseball Championships may be purchased at Dodd Stadium on the day of the event. Ticket prices will be on a "per day" basis. Ticket prices will cost $10 for General Admission and $5 for Seniors and children 12 years of age and under. NEC students with a valid ID will be admitted free.
Opponent (Thursday): Sacred Heart
Location: Dodd Stadium (Norwich, Conn.) | Directions
Date and Time: May 23 – 12:00 p.m. | May 24 – TBA | May 25 - TBA
Live Stats: Thursday
Game Notes: Bryant
Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | #TCD | #NECBASE
Senior Steve Theetge (Syracuse, N.Y.) and sophomore Tyler Mattison (Fort Ann, N.Y.) are the only guarantees for the Bulldogs heading into the NEC Tournament. Theetge was named the NEC Pitcher of the Year on Wednesday, while he and Mattison both earned All-NEC First Team honors. The winningest pitcher in program history, Theetge tossed seven scoreless against the Pioneers last weekend and is 2-0 in the NEC Tournament in his career. Mattison didn't get to pitch in last year's tournament but is 9-2 with a 1.75 ERA in 16 career appearances against NEC opponents.
NEC Tournament History
- Bryant will be making its seventh appearances in the NEC Tournament this weekend. The Bulldogs have qualified for the NEC Tournament and served as the No. 1 seed in all seven years they have been eligible (since 2013).
- The Bulldogs are 14-7 in the NEC Tournament, having won NEC Tournament titles in 2013, 2014 and 2016.
- Bryant is 10-6 in 16 tournament games played at Dodd Stadium.
Setting the Field
- Bryant will serve as the No. 1 seed for the seventh-straight year after claiming its eighth-straight NEC Regular-Season title.
- Central Connecticut will serve as the No. 2 seed after winning 11 of its final 12 NEC games.
- Wagner earned the No. 3 seed after sweeping FDU on the final weekend of the season.
- Sacred Heart will serve as the No. 4 seed.
Bulldog Notes and Notables
- Bryant enters the weekend at 38-18 overall. The Bulldogs finished the regular season with the most road wins in the country with 23.
- The Bulldogs' offense continues to be one of the best in the country, ranking eighth in average (.314), 21st in doubles (111), second in hits (643), ninth in home runs per game (1.45), fifth in home runs (81), 17th in OBP (.403), third in runs (477), fifth in scoring (8.5) and 10th in slugging (.497).
- Bryant set DI single-season records for runs scored, hits and home runs this spring. The Bulldogs' 81 home runs are the most in a single season in NEC history.
- Redshirt sophomore Ryan Ward (Millbury, Mass.) finished the regular season hitting .392 with 91 hits (5th nationally), 14 doubles, 13 home runs, 51 RBI and 57 runs scored. Ward set the DI single-season record for home runs with 13 and became the first player in school history to post 90+ hits in multiple seasons.
- Classmate Jimmy Titus (Stafford, Conn.) has been Bryant's top run producer this year and leads the NEC with 63 RBI. His RBI total is tied for the second-most in a single season in DI program history.
- Senior Nick Angelini (Bedford, N.H.) has enjoyed the best season of his career and enters the NEC Tournament hitting .338 with 12 doubles, 10 home runs, 52 RBI, 54 runs scored and 115 total bases. He is just the fifth different player to record 50+ RBI and 50+ runs in the same season in DI program history.
- Bryant also features four others that have driven in 30+ runs; Gaby Cruz (Miami, Fla.) (34), Sam Owens (Scituate, R.I.) (35), Chris Wright (Cumberland, R.I.) (49) and James Ciliento (Mahwah, N.J.) (56).
- In addition to his 49 RBI, Wright also leads the NEC with a DI single-season program record 12 saves. He has struck out 60 batters in 31 1/3 innings.
Scouting the Pioneers
- Sacred Heart enters the tournament at 19-32-1, having dropped two-of-three to the Bulldogs last weekend.
- The Pioneers are led by Jake Frasca (.342, 13 2B, 28 RBI), Justin Jordan (.309, 20 RBI, 25 R) and Austin Markmann (6 2B, 4 HR, 24 RBI).
- John Cerretani (4-0, 4.32) has made 17 relief appearances but is scheduled to start Thursday's tournament opener. He tossed 3 1/3 scoreless against Bryant last Friday, a 3-2 Sacred Heart win.
Scouting the Blue Devils
- CCSU is one of the hottest teams entering the tournament, having won 11 of its final 12 NEC games. The Blue Devils are 26-20 on the year.
- The Blue Devils are hitting .264 with a 4.61 team ERA. They field at a league-best .969.
- Dave Matthews (.305, 15 2B, 35 RBI) and TT Bowens (.385, 11 2B, 3 HR, 18 RBI) are the big sparks in the lineup.
Scouting the Seahawks
- Wagner earned entry into the four-team field with a three-game sweep of FDU last weekend. The Seahawks are 18-30 on the year.
- Wagner is hitting .268 as a team and has a 5.47 team ERA.
- Will Johnson leads the Seahawks with a .337 average, while Anthony Pecora has 14 doubles, four triples, six home runs and 37 RBI.