SCHLITTER AND MICHAUD DOMINANT AS BULLDOGS SWEEP BLACK BEARS
SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Sophomore Craig Schlitter (Guilford, Conn.) pitched a complete game four-hitter and sophomore Joseph Michaud (Milford, Conn.) allowed just three hits over seven innings as the Bryant University baseball team swept a doubleheader from the University of Maine, 4-1 and 8-3, Saturday afternoon at Conaty Park.
In taking both ends of the doubleheader, the Bulldogs (11-10) captured the weekend series over the Black Bears (7-14) and now hold a 3-1 lead in the all-time series.
Game one of Saturday's doubleheader was played at a break-neck pace, finishing in just an hour and a half. The Bulldogs scored three runs in the bottom of the first and Schlitter did the rest, setting down the final 15 Black Bears in order to pick up his second win of the season.
In the bottom of the first, junior Dan Muscatello (Hopkinton, Mass.) singled to left field, classmate Kevin Brown (Northborough, Mass.) was hit by a pitch and senior David Soltis (Plainville, Conn.) walked to load the bases before there was an out recorded. Following the first out of the inning, senior Jamie Skagerlind (Holden, Mass.) delivered by ripping a 1-1 pitch inside the first base bag and down the right field line for a two-run double. Freshman John Mullen (Walpole, Mass.) capped the scoring in the inning with a sac fly to right field, scoring Soltis from third.
The rest of the game was all about the Bulldog right-hander from Guilford. After allowing a leadoff triple to Michael Fransoso and a single to Colin Gay to start the third inning, Schlitter wouldn't allow another Black Bear batter to reach base. He finished the third with a pair of ground outs and a strike out and then set Maine down in order the rest of the way. Schlitter sandwiched a pair of fly outs around a strikeout in the fourth, got two more fly outs in the fifth, two more in the sixth and finished the game with a ground ball to short. In all, Schlitter threw just 92 pitches, walked one and struck out five.
Bryant plated its final run of the first game in the fifth inning. Junior Adam Claire (Litchfield, Conn.) walked with one out, freshman Ben Lipper (Westport, Conn.) pinch-ran, and senior Connor Carignan (Norwich, Conn.) moved him to third with a single down the right field line. Muscatello scored Lipper with a sac fly to center.
If not for the first inning, Maine starter Jeff Gibbs would have been toe-to-toe with Schlitter. After the first inning, he matched Schlitter by setting down the next 11 Bulldogs before Claire's walk in the fifth. He pitched all six innings, allowing four runs on three hits with four strikeouts.
In game two, senior Mike DelPonte's (Tewksbury, Mass.) third-inning grand slam sparked a six-run inning and Michaud held the Black Bears to just three hits over seven innings to pick up his second-straight victory.
Trailing 1-0, sophomore Jonathan Scott (Princeton, N.J.) was hit by a pitch to start the inning and Carignan followed with a double to deep right-center to put runners on second and third. A fielding error on a Muscatello ground ball loaded the bases and Brown followed with a two-run double down the right field line to put the Black and Gold ahead, 2-1. Soltis reloaded the bases with a full-count walk and DelPonte unloaded them with a monstrous grand slam over the right field wall. The home run was DelPonte's fourth of the season and it was his first career grand slam.
Given the run support, Michaud sparkled for the second-straight start. After giving up an unearned run in the second, Michaud set down 11-straight Black Bears until an Alex Calbrick one-out single in the sixth. He threw just six pitches in a 1-2-3 third, seven in a 1-2-3 fourth and eight in a 1-2-3 fifth. Michaud finished off his start with a pair of strikeouts in the seventh. The right-hander threw just 81 pitches in seven innings and struck out seven while walking just one batter.
The Bulldogs finished their scoring in the bottom of the fourth inning, plating a pair of runs. Scott led off with a walk, moved to second on a Carignan sac bunt and scored on a Muscatello single to center. Brown followed Muscatello's single with a knock of his own to put runners on the corners and Soltis made it 8-1 with a sac fly to center.
In relief of Michaud, freshman Trevor Lacosse (Watervliet, N.Y.) registered the first two outs of the eighth before walking a batter and allowing a two-run home run to Ian Leisenheimer. The two-run home run accounted for half of Maine's runs on the afternoon. Junior Salvatore Lisanti (Bronx, N.Y.) pitched a scoreless ninth, allowing just a two-out double.
Making the start in game three after playing the first two games of the series at second base, Mike Connolly allowed six runs (five earned) on four hits in two innings. Shaun Coughlin pitched well over five innings of long relief, allowing two runs on five hits.
Muscatello, Brown and DelPonte all finished with two hits in game two, helping the Black and Gold accumulate 10 in the game. On the day, Muscatello and Brown each finished with three hits and three runs scored, while Soltis scored a pair of runs in the two contests.
The Bulldogs have the next three days off before getting back on the diamond Wednesday, traveling to Chestnut Hill, Mass., for a rematch with Boston College. The Eagles defeated the Black and Gold, 8-5, on Wednesday in the home opener.