BULLDOGS SCORE 18 RUNS, SNAP FIVE-GAME LOSING STREAK
FAIRFAX, Va. – Junior Dan Muscatello (Hopkinton, Mass.) drove in five runs and scored four and senior catcher Mike DelPonte's (Tewksbury, Mass.) bases-clearing double highlighted a nine-run fifth inning as the Bryant baseball team defeated George Mason, 18-6, Saturday afternoon at Spuhler Field.
In snapping their five-game losing streak and the Patriots' (5-4) four-game winning streak, the Bulldogs (3-5) set a season-high with 17 hits and exceeded their run total of 14 from their first seven games. Every player in the Bryant lineup scored at least once, with Muscatello scoring four and DelPonte crossing the plate three times. Senior Jamie Skagerlind (Holden, Mass.) led the way with three hits and also scored twice.
Trailing, 5-4, entering the fifth inning, the Black and Gold put together their biggest inning of the season. They sent 14 batters to the plate, scoring nine runs on four hits and two Mason errors. DelPonte was hit by a pitch to start the inning and moved to second as Skagerlind reached on a dribbler down the first base line. After a fly out from freshman Daniel St. George (Shelton, Conn.), senior Connor Carignan (Norwich, Conn.) worked a two-out walk to load the bases. Muscatello followed with an equally impressive at-bat, ending it by slapping a single past a diving third baseman, scoring two and giving the Bulldogs a lead they would not relinquish. Junior Adam Claire (Litchfield, Conn.) walked to reload the bases and Bradon Kuter's first pitch went to the backstop to score another run. Things didn't get better for Kuter as he hit junior Kevin Brown (Northborough, Mass.) and senior David Soltis (Plainville, Conn.) back-to-back to force in another run and saw his night come to an end when DelPonte ripped a bases-clearing double into right-center to put Bryant up 11-5.
The inning continued as freshman John Mullen's (Walpole, Mass.) ground ball to short was misplayed, allowing DelPonte to score from third. Skagerlind stroked the very next pitch into the right field corner, scoring Mullen all the way from first and making it 13-5 Bryant.
Bryant capped its scoring with four runs in the ninth inning. Freshman Carl Anderson (Sudbury, Mass.), Muscatello and sophomore Joseph Carcone (New Hartford, N.Y.) rapped consecutive hits to score a run and Brown finished the scoring with his first home run of the season, a towering three-run shot that hit off the top of the right field wall.
Once in front, freshman Kevin McAvoy (Syracuse, N.Y.) kept the Black and Gold ahead with 5 innings of strong relief, earning his first career victory. Entering in the fifth, he immediately got himself in trouble, sandwiching a hit batter around a pair of singles. Facing a bases loaded, one out situation, McAvoy buckled down to strike out the next batter looking and then got Chris Cook to fly to right to end the inning. The only blemish to his outing came in the eighth as Dan Schafferman doubled and Blaise Fernandez tripled to produce the only Patriot run off the right-hander. He allowed five hits and struck out five.
Down by a run after the first inning, the Bulldogs erupted for four runs on four hits to grab the lead in the second. DelPonte walked to start the inning, Skagerlind singled and a throwing error loaded the bases with one out. Mason was nearly out of the jam but Muscatello drilled a two-strike double over the left fielder's head to clear the bases. Claire followed with his own two-strike single to right, scoring Muscatello from second.
Mason pulled closer in the third and eventually took the lead in the fourth. In the third, Cook and Brig Tison had back-to-back hits to start the inning and Fernandez scored both with a two-run single into right. Tison was a part of the proceedings in the fourth as well, doubling off the wall in left-center to tie the game at 4-4 and scoring the go ahead run on a Schafferman single.
The Bulldogs received multi-hit games from Muscatello, Brown, Mullen and Skagerlind and got 11 total RBI's from Muscatello, Brown and DelPonte. Sophomore Joseph Michaud (Milford, Conn.) lasted four innings, giving up five runs (four earned) on six hits while striking out four.
Cook, Tison, Schafferman and Fernandez combined for nine of Mason's 11 hits, all six RBI and five runs. Cook scored twice, Tison crossed the plate three times and Fernandez drove in four. Sean Cabrera took the loss in relief, allowing five runs in 0.2 innings. Ryan Pfaeffle started for the Patriots, allowing four runs (two earned) on five hits over four innings.
The Bulldogs and Patriots close out their weekend series on Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 1:00 p.m. at Spuhler Field. Sophomore Craig Schlitter (Guilford, Conn.) will get the ball for Bryant.