BROWN'S THREE-RUN HOME RUN IN SEVENTH PUSHES BRYANT PAST THE MOUNT, 4-2
EMMITSBURG, Md. – Junior Kevin Brown's (Northborough, Mass.) three-run home run in the top of the seventh inning broke a 1-1 tie and classmate Peter Kelich (Jackson, N.J.) fired a complete game four-hitter to propel the Bryant University baseball team a 4-2 victory over Mount St. Mary's in game one of a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at the E.T. Straw Family Stadium.
In a game dominated by Kelich and Mount St. Mary's left-hander Brady Feigl, Brown's third home run of the series proved to be the difference. The home run just cleared the right field fence and gave the Bulldogs (7-8, 2-0 NEC) their third-straight victory overall and their seventh-straight victory over the Mountaineers (5-11, 0-2 NEC).
Prior to Brown's heroics, game one was a pitcher's duel between Kelich and Feigl. They both came out of the gates firing. Feigl set the Bulldogs down in order in the top of the first and Kelich matched him with a perfect inning of his own and threw all of his first 13 pitches for strikes.
Both offenses broke through in the second, though, with each scoring a single run. Senior Mike DelPonte (Tewksbury, Mass.) started the Bryant rally with a leadoff single into right field. Classmate Jamie Skagerlind (Holden, Mass.) was a hit by a pitch to put two runners on and freshman John Mullen (Walpole, Mass.) followed with a scorching single to center that scored DelPonte for the first run. The Bulldogs were primed for more after freshman Daniel St. George (Shelton, Conn.) moved both runners up with a sac bunt but Feigl registered back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.
The Mount quickly erased the deficit in its next at-bat thanks to a clutch two-out single from Ryan Owens. Sam Nott started things with a double inside the third base bag, moved to third on a ground out and came in to score as Owens ripped a two-out single up the middle.
It was all Kelich and Feigl after that. Both worked around leadoff errors in the third, with Feigl stranding junior Dan Muscatello (Hopkinton, Mass.) at third with a strike out and a ground out. Kelich faced the same trouble in his half but left Michael Foster on second with back-to-back strikeouts of the Mountaineers' 3-4 hitters. A leadoff single from Skagerlind didn't bother Feigl in the fourth as he set down the next three batters and Kelich followed with a 1-2-3 inning of his own in the bottom half of the inning.
Brown's fourth hit of the weekend was the only blemish in the fifth for Feigl and Kelich followed with one of his best innings the season. He needed just five pitches to retire the Mount on a ground ball back to the mound, a bunt attempt down third base line and a ground ball to short.
Bryant threatened again in the sixth as DelPonte led off with his second hit of the afternoon. He moved to second on a ground out but did not move any further as Mullen lined out to first and Mountaineer shortstop Nick Walker robbed St. George of a single with a diving play in the hole at short. The Mount had a chance as well after a leadoff error put a runner on first, but Kelich registered back-to-back strikeouts and induced a pop out to short to end the inning.
Trailing by three in their final at-bat, the Mountaineers were able to push across one run. Owens drew a one-out walk, the only walk Kelich issued all afternoon, moved to second on a ground out and scored on a Mo Moriarty pinch-hit single to right field. Kelich escaped further damage by inducing a game-ending fly ball to right.
Kelich finished with eight strikeouts and after allowing three hits in the second, didn't allow a hit until Moriarty's single in the seventh. The win is Kelich's third of the season and 18th of his career. DelPonte finished with three hits and Skagerlind and Brown each had two knocks for the Bulldogs.
Feigl allowed four runs on eight hits over 6.2 innings while striking out five. Owens drove in a run and scored a run for the Mountaineers.
The Black and Gold and Mountaineers meet for game two of the doubleheader at 3:30 p.m. Sophomore Craig Schlitter (Guilford, Conn.) will start for the Bulldogs.