BROWN AND DELPONTE LEAD BRYANT HIT BARRAGE WITH TWO HOME RUNS APIECE
EMMITSBURG, Md. – Junior Kevin Brown (Northborough, Mass.) and senior Mike DelPonte (Tewksbury, Mass.) each hit two home runs and freshman Kevin McAvoy (Syracuse, N.Y.) allowed one run over seven innings as the Bryant University baseball team opened Northeast Conference play with an 11-3 victory over Mount St. Mary's Friday afternoon at the E.T. Straw Family Stadium.
Brown hit his fourth and fifth home runs of the season and DelPonte hit the first two of his senior campaign as the Bulldogs (6-8, 1-0 NEC) have won consecutive games for the first time since opening the season with two-straight. McAvoy earned his second-straight victory after an opening loss, limiting the Mountaineers (5-10, 0-1 NEC) to seven hits in his seven innings.
With Bryant leading 1-0 in the top of the third, Brown increased the lead with his first home run of the game, a solo shot to right-center field. The Bulldogs' lead was just 2-1 in the fifth but Brown teamed with classmate Dan Muscatello (Hopkinton, Mass.) to quickly bulge the lead. Muscatello led off the inning with a single and Brown lined a 1-1 pitch over the right-center field wall for a two-run home run.
DelPonte's first home run of the game in the seventh inning proved to be very important as The Mount rallied in the bottom of the eighth. In the seventh, Mountaineer reliever Thomas Williams set down the first two Bulldogs in the seventh but walked senior David Soltis (Plainville, Conn.) with two outs. DelPonte followed by drilling a 1-1 pitch to the deepest part of the ballpark.
His second home run, a mammoth three-run shot in the ninth, put an exclamation point on an explosive afternoon for the Black and Gold. Brown led off the inning with a screaming single to center, Soltis was hit by a pitch and DelPonte made a 2-1 pitch disappear over the right-center field wall. The three-run home run jump-started what turned out to be a five-run inning for the Black and Gold. Senior Jamie Skagerlind (Holden, Mass.) followed with a double off the center field wall, Claire scored him with a double down the third base line and freshman John Mullen (Walpole, Mass.) capped the Bulldogs' scoring with an RBI double off the left-center wall.
Making only his second career start, McAvoy put together the best outing of his young career. The right-hander didn't produce a 1-2-3 inning on the afternoon but kept the Mountaineer bats at bay with a good fastball and a quality breaking pitch. He escaped trouble in the first inning, inducing a pop out and a ground out after back-to-back singles had The Mount in business. The only run the Mountaineers were able to muster off of McAvoy came in the third inning. Nick Walker and Josh Winter roped consecutive two-out doubles to pull The Mount within one, 2-1.
McAvoy cruised, relatively speaking, over the next four innings. He allowed just a two-out single in the fourth, worked around a leadoff error in the fifth, issued a two-out walk in the sixth and allowed just a two-out single in the seventh.
Facing sophomore reliever Jonathan Cohen (Norwalk, Conn.) in the eighth, the Mountaineers put together their best offensive showing of the afternoon. Winter and Sam Nott led off the inning with consecutive singles and Mo Moriarty worked a pinch-hit walk to load the bases with no outs. Bryant called on junior Salvatore Lisanti (Bronx, N.Y.) to douse the flames but they only intensified as Andrew Clow lined the first pitch Lisanti threw into center for an RBI single. The Bulldog defense came through, however, for their pitcher as junior second baseman Adam Claire (Litchfield, Conn.) snared a hard ground ball and started a 4-6-3 double play. Lisanti induced a ground ball to third to fully put out the flames.
Bryant's first run of the game came via small ball in the second inning. Senior Connor Carignan (Norwich, Conn.) drew a one-out walk, stole second and moved to third on an errant pickoff attempt. Freshman Carl Anderson (Sudbury, Mass.) scored him from third with a slow ground ball down the first base line.
The Bulldogs stroked 15 hits in their game-one victory, with Brown and DelPonte combining to go 6-for-9 with four home runs, eight RBI and five runs scored. Skagerlind added three hits, Muscatello had a pair and freshman first baseman Matt Zanotta (Schenectady, N.Y.) picked up his first career hit with a pinch-hit double in the eighth inning. Freshman left-hander Trevor Lacosse (Watervliet, N.Y.) closed the game with a scoreless ninth.
The Mount got two hits apiece from Mark Quaranta, Walker and Winter. Scott Nickerson took the loss, allowing four runs on seven hits over 5.2 innings. He struck out six and walked five.
Bryant and Mount St. Mary's continue their four-game series on Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at 1:00 p.m. Junior right-hander Peter Kelich (Jackson, N.J.) is slated to start game one of the doubleheader for the Bulldogs.