Big innings haunt Bulldogs in DH sweep



BROOKLYN, N.Y. – LIU Brooklyn scored seven runs in the bottom of the sixth to break a 1-1 tie in game one and scored six runs in the fifth inning to erase a two-run deficit in game two as they swept the Bryant University baseball team, 8-1 and 7-3, Saturday afternoon at LIU Field.

With the sweep, the Blackbirds (11-16, 3-4 NEC) handed the Bulldogs (12-13, 5-2 NEC) their first two conference losses of the season.

Game One

Drew Walsh started the sixth with a single up the middle, Albert Faz's ground ball to deep short turned into an infield single and Julian Castro loaded the bases as his sac bunt was thrown high to first. The Black and Gold then summoned sophomore Jonathan Cohen (Norwalk, Conn.) from the bullpen and he walked Chris Untereiner and Derek Stupski to force in two runs to make it 3-1, LIU. Mike Garcia followed with the biggest blow of the inning, a grand slam home run over the left-center field wall. The Blackbirds would tack on one more run on a Pete Leonello double.

The sixth-inning eruption made a winner out of Blackbird starter Matt McCormick. The left-hander shutout the Bulldogs last year in Smithfield and was every bit as good Saturday, twirling a complete game, three-hitter. His only blemish came in the first inning as junior Kevin Brown (Northborough, Mass.) drilled his eighth home run of the season to deep right-center. McCormick allowed just one hit the rest of the way, a Brown leadoff double in the fourth, and struck out eight.

Bryant clung to a 1-0 lead until the Blackbirds tied the game in the bottom of the third. Brad Greve singled with one out, stole second and scored on an infield single from Leonello. Junior Adam Claire (Litchfield, Conn.) laid out to stop the ground ball but Leonello beat the throw at first and Greve never stopped running from second.

LIU had chances to take the lead prior to its big inning but sophomore Jonathan Scott (Princeton, N.J.) threw out a trio of runners to end any threat. He threw out Castro to end the second inning on a strikeout-throwout double play and then threw out both Leonello and Greve to squelch any rally in the fifth.

Craig Schlitter (Guilford, Conn.) was strong for the Bulldogs on the mound, striking out six and allowing just one run before hitting trouble in the sixth.

Game Two 

The Blackbirds struck first in game two, plating a single run in the bottom of the second. Drew Walsh started the inning with a triple to deep center and scored two batters later on a Julian Castro ground-rule double to right-center.

LIU starter Chance Fuglistahler kept the Black and Gold bats quiet over the first three innings, allowing just two hits. The Bulldogs finally got to the left-hander in the fourth as senior Jamie Skagerlind (Holden, Mass.) ripped a one-out, ground-rule double to right-center to start the rally. Freshman Daniel St. George (Shelton, Conn.) followed with a single to center and sophomore Joseph Carcone (New Hartford, N.Y.) singled through the left side to tie the game at 1-1.

The Bulldogs kept the pressure on and took the lead in the very next inning. Kevin Brown ripped a one-out single and freshman John Mullen (Walpole, Mass.) hit a towering two-run home run over the left field wall, pushing Bryant ahead, 3-1.

That lead would be short-lived however, as the Blackbirds responded with six runs in the bottom of the fifth. Mike Garcia walked to start the inning, Brad Greve singled through the left side and Tyler Jones's sac bunt was thrown away at first to score Garcia and make the score 3-2. The throwing error was the end of the road for Bryant starter Joseph Michaud (Milford, Conn.) as freshman Trevor Lacosse (Watervliet, N.Y.) was summoned from the bullpen. The Blackbirds continued the rally against the left-hander, tying the game on a wild pitch before Bryant brought Salvatore Lisanti (Bronx, N.Y.) on with one out. LIU greeted him with three consecutive hits to take the lead. Albert Faz ripped a two-run double, Castro tripled to right-center and Chris Untereiner singled to center to put LIU ahead, 7-3.

From there, right-hander Kyle Pomeroy closed the door on the Blackbirds sweep. Pomeroy notched a perfect sixth and seventh holding the Bulldogs scoreless to close the door.

Michaud allowed four runs (one earned) on six hits over four innings and struck out three. Fuglistahler got the win, allowing three runs on seven hits while striking out seven over five innings.

Mullen was the only Bulldog to register multiple hits, finishing with a double and a home run. Brown finished with three hits on the day. 

Bryant will look for a split in the four-game series on Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.