BULLDOGS AND EAGLES MEET IN MID-WEEK TILT AT SHEA FIELD
SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Following a brief four-game homestand, the Bryant University baseball team heads back on the road for five games, beginning with a rematch against Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass., on Wednesday, March 28. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. at Shea Field.
Ranked No. 1 in first New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA) Coaches Poll, the Eagles (9-14) spoiled the Bulldogs' (11-10) home opener last Wednesday with an 8-5 victory at Conaty Park. It was also the fourth-straight victory for BC in an all-time series that it leads 4-1.
Four Eagles pitchers limited the Bulldogs to just six hits last week, with junir Dan Muscatello (Hopkinton, Mass.) and classmate Kevin Brown (Northborough, Mass.) contributing five of the six on the afternoon. The Bulldogs scored two runs in the first on a wild pitch and sac fly but BC responded with five runs over its next two at-bats to take a commanding lead. Trailing 8-2 in the eighth, the Bulldogs rallied for three runs but Kyle Prohovich closed the door with two perfect innings of relief.
Last week's victory over the Black and Gold ended the Eagles' 10-game losing streak and propelled them into a weekend series victory over Georgia Tech. BC appeared poised to take Tuesday's non-conference matchup with cross-town rival Northeaster, but the Huskies scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth to walk off with a 12-11 victory.
Reigning ACC Player of the Week Anthony Melchionda went 3-for-5 with an RBI against the Huskies and leads the team with a .337 average and 20 RBI. Right behind him is Tom Bourdon, hitting .333 with team-highs in doubles (10), home runs (6) and runs scored (19).
Melchionda and Blake Butera combined to go 6-for-10 with three runs and three RBI last week against the Bulldogs. Matt Pare also had two hits, including a two-run home run that tied the game in the second inning.
The Bulldogs enter Wednesday's mid-week tilt not only looking for redemption, but looking to build off a solid series victory over the University of Maine last weekend. After dropping the first game on Friday, the Black and Gold used a pair of stellar pitching performances to sweep the Black Bears on Saturday.
After hitting just .165 as a team after the first seven games of the season, and posting a 2-5 record, the Black and Gold have posted a .294 average and a 9-5 record over the last 14 games. Leading the way is senior Mike DelPonte (Tewksbury, Mass.) at .319. He hit his first career grand slam on Saturday to spark a six-run third-inning as the Bulldogs swept the Black Bears. Junior Adam Claire (Litchfield, Conn.) (.318) and senior Jamie Skagerlind (Holden, Mass.) (.306) are also hitting over .300 and Muscatello is just shy of the mark, hitting .293. Bryant's starting shortstop, Muscatello was 7-for-17 last week with five runs scored, including a three-hit performance against the Eagles.
This time around, the Black and Gold will send freshman Kevin McAvoy (Syracuse, N.Y.) to the mound against the Eagles. He appeared last week as well, allowing two runs on three hits in just 2/3 of an inning of relief. On the season, he is 2-1 with a 5.96 ERA in six appearances. The Eagles will counter with a freshman of their own, right-hander Eric Stone. The Connecticut native will be making his first appearance when he toes the rubber against the Bulldogs on Wednesday.
Following Wednesday's tilt, the Bulldogs will head back into Northeast Conference play with a four-game weekend series in Long Island against LIU Brooklyn. Game one of the series is scheduled for Friday, March 30 at 3:00 p.m. at LIU Field.