SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Junior starting pitcher Brian O'Neil (North Reading, Mass.) dealt seven solid innings of one-run baseball, as the Bryant University baseball team bounced back Thursday afternoon with a 12-1 victory over Harvard University in Smithfield, R.I.
The Bulldogs (11-13, 3-5 NEC) recorded a season-high 12 runs on 12 hits against the Crimson (3-21, 0-4 Ivy) pitching staff while registering two stolen bases and one extra base hit.
O'Neill (3-2) pieced together one of his best starts of the season, retiring the side in the first two innings and allowing four total hits. As O'Neill continued to keep the Crimson off the scoreboard for the first three innings, the Bryant lineup began to rattle the opposing staff, picking up five runs off of two hits and one error in the bottom of the third inning.
Tim Norton (Barnstable, Mass.) and Joseph Carcone (New Hartford, N.Y.) led off the frame with back-to-back walks, setting up freshman Colin Shepard (Boxford, Mass.) for the rookie's first RBI of the season. Both Shepard and Carcone would advance on a wild pitch before Dan Muscatello (Hopkinton, Mass.) popped a sacrifice fly to right field for the second run of the inning. Senior Jordan English (Windsor Locks Conn.) would then step into the batters' box and deliver another sacrifice fly to right field for the third run of the frame.
The Bulldogs would continue to pile it on, as Kevin Brown (Northborough, Mass.) smacked a RBI single to center field, and eventually cross home on two stolen bases, giving the home side a 5-0 edge after three.
O'Neil would continue to dissect the Crimson lineup, allowing just two hits and no runs over the fourth and fifth innings. The defensive lineup would help the cause, turning two crucial double plays, including a one-out bases loaded situation in the top of the fifth to end the potential rally. Despite the sharp play in the field, the right handed starter would finally get tagged with a run after Harvard's Kyle Larrow hit a sacrifice fly to the deepest part of the diamond, cutting the Bryant lead to 5-1.
Following O'Neil's exit in the top of the seventh, Bryant continued to find green grass in the bottom half of the frame with four more runs on three hits. Muscatello led off with a single to the right side before advancing to second on a wild pitch. Two walked batters later, shortstop David Soltis (Plainville, Conn.) found himself with a no-out bases loaded situation and was able to reach base on balls bringing home the first run of the inning.
The Bulldogs were not finished there, though, as junior righty Dan Walsh (Burlington, Mass.) continued to keep Harvard off the scoreboard in the top of the eighth.
Up by eight runs, the home side would add three insurance runs in the bottom portion of the inning. Connor Carignan (Norwich, Conn.) led off with a single to left field before advancing to third on a single by Adam Claire (Litchfield, Conn.). Colin Dougherty (Lowell, Mass.) would then load the bases after getting hit by a pitch, creating another three-on, no-out scenario. Bryant would take advantage and add its first run of the frame off the bat of freshman Edward Rooney (Merion Station, Pa.).
The Bulldogs continued to add to their lead by playing small ball, with Soltis and Jonathon Scott (Princeton, N.J.) both adding RBI singles, stretching the lead to 11 entering the final frame.
Rookie Craig Schlitter (Guilford, Conn.) would close the door in the top of the ninth with two strikeouts for the 12-1 Bryant victory.
With the W, Bryant moves to 5-2 at home this season and 8-8 against non-conference opponents. Nine different Bulldogs recorded at least one hit, with Skagerlind's 3-for-5 performance at the plate leading the way.
The Bulldogs return to action Friday, April 8 for the first of a four-game stand at Northeast Conference rival Wagner College. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. and fans can follow live stats at www.bryantbulldogs.com.