Bulldogs drop home opener to BC, 8-5

EAGLES COLLECT 16 HITS, HOLD BULLDOGS TO JUST SIX

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Four Boston College pitchers limited the Bryant University baseball team to just six hits as the Eagles pounded out 16 of their own in an 8-5 victory Wednesday afternoon at Conaty Park.

Playing their first home game of the season, the Bulldogs (9-9) jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first but the Eagles (7-12) scored five runs over the next two innings and never looked back, snapping their 10-game losing streak. The win is the fourth-straight for BC over the Bulldogs. The two teams will complete their mini two-game series next Wednesday in Chestnut Hill, Mass.

On Wednesday, the Bulldogs did not waste any time offensively, plating two runs in the bottom of the first. Junior Dan Muscatello (Hopkinton, Mass.) led off the game with a sharp single up the middle and classmate Kevin Brown (Northborough, Mass.) got some help from the wind as his soft fly ball to right carried all the way off the wall for a double. Muscatello scored the first Bryant run on the very next pitch as BC starter Steve Green unleashed a wild pitch and Brown came in to score on David Soltis's (Plainville, Conn.) sac fly to left.

Boston College responded quickly, tying the game on a Matt Pare home run in the very next inning. Travis Ferrick led off the inning with a walk and then moved all the way to third on consecutive ground outs. Bryant starter Brian O'Neil (North Reading, Mass.) was nearly out of the inning but Pare drilled a 1-2 pitch deep over the right-center field fence to tie the game.

The Eagles kept their foot on the gas pedal, scoring three more runs in the third inning. Blake Butera, Anthony Melchionda and Andrew Lawrence started the inning with three consecutive hits, with Melchionda's single to left scoring Butera to break the 2-2 tie. Lawrence's single to right-center put runners on the corners and ended O'Neil's afternoon. Freshman Trevor Lacosse (Watervliet, N.Y.) came on in relief to strike out Ferrick but Rob Moir plated the fourth BC run with a sac fly to the wall in right. The Eagles scored their fifth run as Pare's slow roller eluded the Bulldog infield, allowing Lawrence to score all the way from second.

After his rough first inning, Green settled down to handcuff the Bulldogs over the next three innings. In the second, he walked Jordan Mountford (Guelph, Ont.) with one out but Pare threw him out trying to steal second. The caught stealing proved pivotal as junior Adam Claire (Litchfield, Conn.) followed with a single up the midde. Green left him there with a strikeout and then allowed just two baserunners the rest of the way. After Muscatello singled in the third, Green picked him off and he was able to work a hit batsman in the fourth.

Following Green's exit, the Eagles paraded three more pitchers to the mound to close the door. Geoff Murphy pitched two scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and eventually picked up his first win of the season.

Things got interesting, however, when Jay Jeanotte took over in the seventh. He worked a scoreless seventh but unraveled in the eighth as the Bulldogs put forth a last gasp effort. Muscatello led off with a single up the middle, Brown walked on four pitches and Soltis was hit by a pitch to load the bases. A wild pitch scored Muscatello before senior Mike DelPonte (Tewksbury, Mass.) was walked to reload the bases. BC then summoned right-hander Kyle Prohovich and he did the rest. Senior Jamie Skagerlind (Holden, Mass.) brought home Bryant's fourth run with an RBI ground out and freshman John Mullen's sac fly to right brought the Black and Gold within three but Prohovich shut the door to pick up his first save of the season.

After O'Neil's departure in the third, the Bulldogs used four pitchers over the next six innings. Making his seventh appearance of the season, Lacosse was dominant, allowing just two hits and striking out four over three scoreless innings. He worked a 1-2-3 fourth and struck out a pair in the fifth. Classmate Kevin McAvoy (Syracuse, N.Y.) followed and allowed two runs on three hits in 0.2 innings of relief. After retiring the first two batters of the sixth, Tim Bourdon, Butera and Melchionda collected consecutive hits to plate a pair of runs and knock McAvoy from the game.

Sophomore Jonathan Cohen (Norwalk, Conn.) and junior Salvatore Lisanti (Bronx, N.Y.) pitched the final 3.1 innings, allowing one run on four hits. Lisanti struck out three in 1.1 innings of scoreless relief, lowering his ERA to 1.50.

Offensively, Muscatello finished with half of the Bulldogs' hits on the day, going 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Brown finished with a pair of hits and also scored twice.

Butera and Melchionda each had three knocks for the Eagles and Bourdon, Moir and Pare each contribute two.

Wednesday's game was also the first home game at the newly renovated Conaty Park. Made possible by generous support from Bill and Sue Conaty, the park will be officially dedicated in May.

Bryant continues its four-game homestand on Friday, March 23 when the University of Maine comes to Smithfield to begin a three-game weekend series. First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.

 
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