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March 17, 2012

Carcone, DelPonte rally Bulldogs to sweep

BULLDOGS TIE GAME IN SEVENTH, WIN IT IN THE EIGHTH

EMMITSBURG, Md. – Sophomore Joseph Carcone (New Hartford, N.Y.) tied the game with a two-out single in the top of the seventh and senior Mike DelPonte (Tewksbury, Mass.) drove in the game-winning run with a single in the top of the eighth as the Bryant University baseball team rallied for a 3-2 victory and a doubleheader sweep of Mount St. Mary's on Saturday afternoon at E.T. Straw Family Stadium.

Trailing 2-1 and down to their final out in the seventh inning, Carcone ripped a 3-2 pitch into left field to score senior Connor Carignan (Norwich, Conn.) from second and tie the game. DelPonte's fifth hit of the day scored junior Kevin Brown (Northborough, Mass.) from second base and gave the Bulldogs (8-8, 3-0 NEC) their fourth-straight victory and their eighth-straight win over the Mountaineers (5-12, 0-3 NEC).

Down to their final three outs, the Bulldogs staged their rally against Mountaineer reliever Karl Lamont. With one out, junior Adam Claire lined a pinch-hit single into right field to get the rally started. Following the single, the Bulldogs elected to pinch-run for Claire with Carignan. After a Lamont got a fly out for the second out, he moved Carignan into scoring position by unleashing a pickoff throw down the right field line. Carcone eventually worked the count full and laced the payoff pitch in the hole between third and short.

Bryant's game-winning rally in the eighth was also aided by the Mountaineers. Hitting with one out, Brown hit a chopper up the middle that Nick Walker fielded but his throw to first got away, allowing Brown to make it all the way to second. Mount St. Mary's elected to walk senior David Soltis (Plainville, Conn.) intentionally to face DelPonte and the Massachusetts native came through, lacing a single between first and second.

The late rally made a winner out of sophomore right-hander Craig Schlitter (Guilford, Conn.). Facing the team he earned his first collegiate win against last year, Schlitter twirled a masterpiece on Saturday. He allowed a two-out single in the first and set down The Mount in order in the second before hitting his only bump in the road in the third, allowing a pair of unearned runs.

Jay Knight and Tyler Skidmore started the inning with back-to-back bunts, Knight reaching with a single and Skidmore reaching on a throwing error. Schlitter responded with a strikeout and induced a ground ball to third but the throw to second sailed into right field allowing the first Mountaineer run to score and putting runners on the corners with one out. Mark Quaranta followed with a sharp ground ball up the middle that junior Dan Muscatello (Hopkinton, Mass.) nearly turned into an inning-ending double play. He dove to make the play, tagged the second base bag and then threw to first for what appeared to be the double play. The first base ump, however, ruled that senior Jamie Skagerlind's (Holden, Mass.) foot came off the base. The ruling allowed the second run to score from third.

After that, though, Schlitter was nearly untouchable. He responded by setting the next six Mountaineers down in order before an infield error allowed the leadoff runner to reach in the sixth. Schlitter buckled down, retiring the next hitter on a fly ball and getting help from his defense to turn an infield pop-up into an inning-ending double play. After the Bulldogs tied the game in the seventh, Schlitter got two quick outs in the bottom of the seventh before an single put the winning run on base. A stolen base put the winning run on second but Schlitter induced a ground ball to first to end the inning.

While Schlitter was dealing for the Bulldogs, Mount St. Mary's left-hander Dan Horner made the two third-inning runs stand up. Using a good mix of pitches, Horner kept the Bulldogs off balance throughout the game. He worked around a leadoff single in the first, a two-out single in the second and set the Bulldogs down in order in the third. He hit his first bump in the fourth, allowing the Bulldogs to pull within one.

Muscatello and Brown were set down for the first two outs but Soltis walked on four pitches. DelPonte followed with a single through the right side and Skagerlind walked to load the bases. Facing freshman John Mullen (Walpole, Mass.), Horner uncorked a wild pitch, scoring Soltis from third for the first Bryant run. He recovered to get Mullen to fly out to right to end the inning.

Following the fourth, Horner limited the Black and Gold to just a single in the fifth and a walk in the sixth and finished the afternoon allowing a run on four hits while striking out three.

DelPonte went 2-for-4 and finished the day 5-for-8. He was the only Bulldog to collect multiple hits in the second game. Junior right-hander Salvatore Lisanti (Bronx, N.Y.) came on in the eighth inning and started an game-ending 1-6-3 double play to pick up his fourth save of the season.

The Bulldogs and Mountaineers wrap up their weekend series with a single nine inning game on Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 1:00 p.m. Sophomore Joseph Michaud (Milford, Conn.) will get the ball for the Black and Gold. 

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