MICHAUD PITCHES SEVEN SCORELESS, BULLDOGS WIN, 2-0
CARY, N.C. – Redshirt sophomore Joseph Michaud (Milford, Conn.) pitched seven scoreless innings and the Bryant University baseball team played flawless defense in a 2-0 victory over Wright State Saturday afternoon at the USA Baseball Complex.
Starting for the first time since April 11, 2010, Michaud was brilliant in his 2012 debut for the Bulldogs (2-0). Throwing all of his pitches for strikes, Michaud kept a potent Raider (0-2) offense off balance for most of the afternoon. He threw 86 pitches over seven innings, scattering four hits and striking out five.
After giving up a one-out double in the second, Michaud set down the next 10 batters in order before a Justin Kopale two-out single in the fifth. The right-hander cruised through the sixth, notching a pair of strikeouts. He hit trouble in the seventh, though. After retiring the first two batters of the inning, Ryan Ashe doubled to left to start things for the Raiders. Kopale followed with a single to left to put runners on the corners but Michaud ended his outing by getting Kyle Mossbarger to fly to center.
Bryant's bullpen and defense preserved the win after that. Scheduled to start on Sunday, Craig Schlitter (Guilford, Conn.) was called on in the eighth to relieve Michaud. The sophomore right-hander struck out the first batter he faced before finding himself in trouble. Corey Davis doubled to dead center to start things and Jake Hibberd appeared to have found the gap in left-center but Connor Carignan (Norwich, Conn.) had other thoughts. Racing over from centerfield, Carignan laid out along the warning track to make the catch and keep Davis at second. The Bulldogs got another break on the next play as Tristan Moore's hot smash up the middle hit the field umpire in the leg, keeping the ball in the infield. Schlitter escaped the inning by getting Garrett Gray to fly out to right.
Junior Salvatore Lisanti (Bronx, N.Y.) came on in the ninth and picked up his second save of the young season, striking out a pair before fielding a comebacker to end the game.
For the second-straight game, the Bulldogs got on the board in their first at-bats. Carignan walked on four pitches to start the game, moved to second on a wild pitch and to third on a Kevin Brown (Northborough, Mass.) ground out to second. A strikeout had Carignan at third with two outs but freshman John Mullen (Walpole, Mass.) came through with an RBI single to left field – the first hit and RBI of his career.
The Black and Gold tacked on their second run in the third inning thanks to a throwing error from the Raiders. Brown stroked a one-out single to right and then caught the attention of Raiders starting pitcher Cody Kopilchack at first base. After throwing over three times, Kopilchack's fourth pickoff attempt sailed down the right field line. Brown made the turn at second and was able to avoid the tag at third. Two batters later, senior Mike DelPonte (Tewksbury, Mass.) hit a jam-shot down the third baseline that dropped in front of a diving Zach Tanner, allowing Brown to score from third.
Bryant had chances to build on its lead but Wright St. turned three double plays to keep the game close. The Bulldogs put two runners on with one out in the second but Tanner scooped up a ground ball and ended the inning with a 5-3 twin-killing. A 4-6-3 double play erased Bryant's threat in the seventh and reliever Andrew Elliott started a 1-6-3 double play that got the Raiders out of the ninth.
The Bulldogs finished with six hits, getting them from six different individuals. In addition to picking up his third hit in two games, junior shortstop Dan Muscatello (Hopkinton, Mass.) played an outstanding defensive game for the Bulldogs. His sliding grab up the middle to take a hit away from Moore was followed by a nifty play from Michaud as he snared a hard comebacker to end the fourth inning.
Kopale paced Wright St.'s seven-hit attack with three hits. On in relief of Kopilchack, Elliott allowed just one hit over four scoreless innings of relief. Kopilchack gave up two runs on five hits over five innings in a losing effort.
Bryant will get right back to action, as they face Marshall at 3:30 p.m. at the USA Baseball Complex. Fans can follow the game through a live blog.