BULLDOGS OPEN CONFERENCE PLAY WITH FOUR-GAME SWEEP OF THE MOUNT
EMMITSBURG, Md. – Junior Kevin Brown (Northborough, Mass.) had three hits, including his fourth home run of the series and senior Mike DelPonte (Tewksbury, Mass.) hit his third home run of the series to lead the Bryant University baseball team to a 13-6 victory and four-game sweep of Northeast Conference opponent Mount St. Mary's on Sunday afternoon at the E.T. Straw Family Stadium.
Brown and DelPonte combined to go 5-for-10 with four RBI and four runs as the Bulldogs (9-8, 4-0 NEC) ran their win streak to five games and swept the Mountaineers (5-13, 0-4 NEC) for the second-straight season. Bryant finished their eight-game road trip with a 6-2 record and find themselves over .500 for the first time since the opening weekend of the season.
The Bulldogs didn't waste any time getting on the board, scoring four runs in their first at-bat. Junior Dan Muscatello (Hopkinton, Mass.) drew a leadoff walk and Brown followed by drilling a 3-1 pitch over the right field wall for his fourth home run of the series and his seventh on the season. The inning continued as senior David Soltis (Plainville, Conn.) was hit by a pitch, DelPonte walked and senior Jamie Skagerlind (Holden, Mass.) laced a single up the middle to score Soltis. Skagerlind's single knocked Mountaineer starter Ben Smallenbroek out and the Bulldogs scored their final run of the inning on a double-play ground out by freshman John Mullen (Walpole, Mass.).
Bryant was held off the scoreboard in the second but plated five runs over the next two innings. Mullen reached on an error with one out in third, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored as junior Adam Claire (Litchfield, Conn.) produced a two-out single through the left side.
The Black and Gold tacked on four more runs in the fourth. Brown led off with a single, stole second but was tagged out at third on a Soltis ground ball for the first out. DelPonte followed by pulverizing a first-pitch fastball deep over the right field wall for his third home run of the weekend. Mullen restarted the inning with a one-out single, freshman Jordan Mountford (Guelph, Ont.) reached on an error and Claire picked up an infield single to load the bases for freshman Carl Anderson (Sudbury, Mass.). The rookie center fielder came through with a two-run single through the right side to put the Bulldogs up 9-0.
Sophomore right-hander Joseph Michaud (Milford, Conn.) was the beneficiary of the run support and he tossed six innings to pick up his second win of the season. He allowed just one of the first 10 Mountaineer batters to reach, a two-out walk in the first inning, and didn't allow a hit until the fourth inning. He struck out two in the first and two more in the third before hitting trouble in the fourth.
Mark Quaranta picked up the first Mount St. Mary's hit, ripping a one-out double to right-center and Josh Winter followed with a two-run home run to left field. Michaud escaped further damage with a ground out and a fly out and then retired the Mountaineers in order in the fifth.
Bryant continued to swing the bats throughout the game, plating two runs in both the six and seventh innings. Claire started a two-out rally with a single through the left side, Anderson singled to right-center and both came in to score as Muscatello's slicing fly to left was dropped.
Soltis was hit by a pitch to start the seventh, DelPonte reached on an infield single and freshman Matt Zanotta (Schenectady, N.Y.) picked up his first career RBI with a single up the middle. Freshman Daniel St. George (Shelton, Conn.) produced the second run of the inning, driving in DelPonte with a sac fly to left to put Bryant on top, 13-4.
The Mount was also able to reach Michaud for two runs in the sixth. Three-straight singles loaded the bases and Winter drove in Michael Foster with a sac fly to center. Sam Nott followed the Winter fly out with an RBI double down the left field line, cutting Bryant's lead to 11-4.
Michaud finished the afternoon with seven strikeouts over six innings and allowed four runs on six hits. Sophomore's Jonathan Cohen (Norwalk, Conn.) and Bryan Menduke (Oakland, N.J.) and freshman Trevor Lacosse (Watervliet, N.Y.) combined to throw the final three innings, allowing two unearned runs on two hits. The Bryant pitching staff posted a 2.45 ERA over the four games and limited Mount St. Mary's to a .206 average.
Offensively, Claire finished 4-for-5, Brown had three hits and Soltis, DelPonte, Mullen and Anderson all had two hits in Bryant's 17-hit attack. Soltis and DelPonte each scored three runs and Brown, DelPonte and Anderson all drove in two runs. In four games, the Bulldogs hit .348 and scored 31 runs. In the series, Brown was 8-for-19 with four home runs, eight RBI and six runs, DelPonte was 10-for-16 with three home runs, eight RBI and six runs and Skagerlind finished 7-for-15 and fielded 34 chances without an error at first base. Soltis was just 3-for-11 on the weekend but scored six runs and produced a .579 on-base percentage with 4 walks and was hit by a pitch 4 times.
Riding a five-game winning streak, the Bulldogs return to Smithfield, R.I., for the next four games, opening newly renovated Conaty Park on Wednesday, March 21 with a non-conference matchup with ACC-member Boston College. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.