KELICH TOSSES CG SHUTOUT AS BULLDOGS BLANK LIU BROOKLYN, 4-0
BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Junior Peter Kelich (Jackson, N.J.) tossed a complete game seven-hit shutout and tied a career-high with 10 strikeouts to lead the Bryant University baseball team to a 4-0 victory over LIU Brooklyn, Friday afternoon in the opening game of a four-game weekend series at LIU Field.
After issuing a leadoff walk in the first inning, Kelich set down the next nine batters in a row and left runners on first and second with his 10th strikeout to earn his 19th career win and keep the Bulldogs (12-11, 5-0 NEC) perfect in Northeast Conference play. LIU dropped to 9-16 and 1-4 in NEC play with the loss.
Friday's opener took just an hour and 56 minutes to play, with the first three innings rolling by in just a half hour. That was thanks to Kelich and LIU starter Chris Franzese. The Blackbird right-hander allowed a leadoff single but then set down the next 12 batters until allowing a two runs on three hits in the fifth.
Kelich matched him pitch-for-pitch, holding the Blackbirds hitless until a Julian Castro single in the fourth. The hit sparked the only real Blackbird offensive opportunity of the afternoon as Drew Walsh drilled a two-out double down the right field line that put runners on second and third. Kelich never faltered, regrouping to strikeout the next batter to end the inning. The inning-ending strikeout jump-started a string of four strikeouts over the next five batters for Kelich. The right-hander completed his shutout by recording four of the final six outs via strikeout, tying his previous career-high set last year against Houston Baptist.
The Bulldogs finally broke up the pitchers' duel in the top of the fifth inning. Senior Jamie Skagerlind (Holden, Mass.) started the rally with a one-out, ground-rule double down the right field line. Freshman Matt Zanotta (Schenectady, N.Y.) followed with a two-strike single through the left side to put runners on the corners, and junior Adam Claire (Litchfield, Conn.) broke the scoreless deadlock with a perfectly place suicide squeeze down the first base line. Freshman Carl Anderson (Sudbury, Mass.) made it 2-0, spraying his first-career double to the gap in left-center, and scoring Zanotta from second.
Kelich followed with another 1-2-3 frame in the fifth to keep the momentum with the Black and Gold and senior David Soltis (Plainville, Conn.) hustled out a ground ball to start a two-out rally in the sixth. Classmate Mike DelPonte (Tewksbury, Mass.) was hit by the very next pitch and Skagerlind capitalized, lacing a single up the middle to score Soltis and push the Bryant lead to 3-0.
Bryant kept the offense going in the eighth, plating a fourth run. Junior Kevin Brown (Northborough, Mass.) reached on an error and Soltis singled to left to put runners on first and second with one out. The rally seemed dead after Brown was caught trying to steal third but DelPonte produced a double into the right field corner that scored Soltis all the way from first to make it 4-0.
Soltis and Skagerlind each finished with two hits for the Black and Gold, with Soltis crossing the plate twice. Walsh was the only Blackbird to finish with multiple hits, collecting two. Franzese went all nine innings on the mound, allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits.
The Bulldogs and Blackbirds continue their series on Saturday with a doubleheader scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m.