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Bryant falls 3-1 to CCSU to force deciding game

Steve McLaughlin/Northeast Conference
Steve McLaughlin/Northeast Conference

NORWICH, Conn. – The Bryant University baseball team will play a winner-take-all Game 7 of the Northeast Conference Championship after falling to No. 2 seed Central Connecticut, 3-1, Saturday evening at Dodd Stadium.

Junior Gaby Cruz (Miami, Fla.) drove in the lone run for Bryant, which left 10 runners on base and hit into two double plays.

Game Information
Central Connecticut 3, Bryant 1
Records: Bryant (40-19), Central Connecticut (29-21)
Location: Dodd Stadium (Norwich, Conn.)
W|L|S: Mike Appel (6-0) | Nathan Wrighter (4-2) | Jared Gallagher (9)

Key Moments

  • Bryant struck first on a Cruz RBI single in the top of the second and the Blue Devils answered back to tie the game in the bottom of the frame.
  • The Blue Devils took the lead on a two-run homer with two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the third and held the Bulldogs in check the rest of the way.

How it Happened

  • Junior James Ciliento (Mahwah, N.J.) singled with one out in the third and sophomore Sam Owens (Scituate, R.I.) lined a comebacker off the Blue Devil pitcher to put runners at the corners with one out in the second. Cruz followed with an RBI single to left to score Ciliento with the game's first run.
  • The Blue Devils evened the contest in the bottom of the frame, as after a leadoff double, a throw from third on a ground ball skipped into the first base stands. The runner on second base was awarded the plate to tie the game at one.
  • CCSU took its first lead of the day on a two-out, two-strike, two-run home run that cleared the left field wall in the bottom of the third to put the Blue Devils ahead 3-1.
  • Bryant would strand two runners in the third and one each in the fourth, fifth and sixth. Double plays erased leadoff baserunners in the sixth, seventh and eighth.
  • The Bulldogs put two runners on with one out in the ninth, but a fly out and a ground out allowed the Blue Devils to escape damage and secure the two-run victory.

Stats

  • Wrighter went six innings, allowing six hits, three runs (two earned) and two walks while striking out seven.
  • Cruz, senior Nick Angelini (Bedford, N.H.) and freshman Brian Nicolas (Langhorne, Pa.) had two hits each for the Bulldogs.
  • Sophomore Matthew Stansky (Douglas, Mass.) struck out three in two scoreless innings of relief.

Notes and Notables

  • Bryant drops to 6-2 against CCSU in 2019 and 38-12 all-time.
  • The Bulldogs have allowed 19 runs over their last nine games.
  • Bryant falls to 89-40 (.690) in May under Coach Owens.
  • Ward reached base for the 31st consecutive game.

Up Next
The Bulldogs and Blue Devils will meet for the third time in 48 hours Sunday at noon in Norwich to decide the Northeast Conference title and automatic qualifier to the NCAA tournament.