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March 21, 2012

Baseball faces BC in home opener at 3pm

BULLDOGS HOST BC IN 2012 HOME OPENER

Baseball Weekly

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – After playing its first 17 games on the road, the Bryant University baseball team finally returns home, hosting ACC member Boston College in its home opener Wednesday, March 21 at the Bryant Baseball Complex. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.

Wednesday's home opener marks the third time in the last four years that the Bulldogs (9-8) have opened their home slate against the Eagles (6-12). The teams have split the first two meetings, the Black and Gold winning their first home game in the Division I era in 2009. BC holds the all-time lead in the series, 3-1, winning each of the last three games. Last season, BC scored 12 runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to erase a 5-4 Bryant lead, defeating the Bulldogs 16-5.

Boston College erupted out of the gates in 2012, winning its first three games against perennial powers Virginia, James Madison and Coastal Carolina. The Eagles started 6-2 after taking the first two games from Florida Gulf Coast but come to Smithfield having lost their last 10 games, including a 3-1 setback to Holy Cross on Tuesday.

Tom Bourdon leads the Eagles offensively, hitting .370 with team-highs in doubles (8), home runs (5) and runs (15). Anthony Melchionda leads the Eagles with 13 RBI while hitting .284 with seven doubles. As a team, the Eagles are hitting .258 and are averaging just under five runs per game. On the mound, BC has posted an ERA of 4.81 with Nate Bayuk making a team-high nine appearances. Steve Green will get the ball for the Eagles and is 0-3 with a 6.48 ERA in six appearances. He's worked 8.1 innings, allowing eight runs on nine hits.

The Bulldogs return to Smithfield winners of five-straight games, including a Northeast Conference sweep of Mount St. Mary's over the weekend. The five-game winning streak matches the Bulldogs' five-game streak that ended the 2011 season. Over the course of last week, the Black and Gold posted a .327 average and a 2.36 ERA, limiting teams to just 15 runs.

Junior Kevin Brown (Northborough, Mass.) and senior Mike DelPonte (Tewksbury, Mass.) combined to put together an unbelievable week at the plate, going 18-for-35 with seven home runs, 16 RBI and 12 runs scored against The Mount alone. Brown was named NEC Player of the Week for his efforts and currently leads the conference with seven home runs. DelPonte is hitting a team-high .339 and is tied with Brown for the team lead in RBI with 15. Senior Jamie Skagerlind (Holden, Mass.) went 9-for-18 last week and currently leads the Bulldogs with five doubles.

Looking to extend their current winning streak to six, the Bulldogs will send the man that helped start the streak, senior Brian O'Neil (North Reading, Mass.), to the mound against the Eagles. Last week against Liberty, O'Neil held the Flames hitless over the first 5.1 innings before having his day come to an end on a one-out single in the sixth. He's tossed six innings on the year, allowing just two runs on two hits.

Wednesday's home opener kick-starts a brief four-game homestand for the Black and Gold that ends with a three-game series against the University of Maine over the weekend. The Bulldogs and Black Bears will start their series on Friday, March 23 at 3:00 p.m.

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