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April 1, 2012

Bulldogs win in 11, salvage weekend split

BULLDOGS SPLIT WEEKEND SERIES WITH 2-1 VICTORY IN 11 INNINGS

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Freshman Kevin McAvoy (Syracuse, N.Y.) tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings and junior Dan Muscatello (Hopkinton, Mass.) scored the game-winning on a wild pitch in the top of the 11th as the Bryant University baseball team salvaged a weekend split with a 2-1 victory over LIU Brooklyn Sunday afternoon at LIU Field.

McAvoy combined with classmate Trevor Lacosse (Watervliet, N.Y.) and junior Salvatore Lisanti (Bronx, N.Y.) to limit the Blackbirds (11-17, 3-5 NEC) to just one run on nine hits over the 11 innings, with Lisanti picking up his first win of the season. The Bulldogs improve their record to 13-13 and 6-2 in the Northeast Conference with the win.

With the game tied at 1-1 in the top of the 11th, Muscatello started the Bulldog rally with a ground-rule double to deep right-center. The Blackbirds intentionally walked junior Kevin Brown (Northborough, Mass.) and then walked freshman John Mullen (Walpole, Mass.) to load the bases. The first pitch to senior Mike DelPonte (Tewksbury, Mass.) was in the dirt and scooted out of play to allow Muscatello to score from third. Lisanti finished off the victory with a four-pitch 11th, retiring LIU on a pair of flyouts and a ground out.

Bryant jumped out to an early lead thanks to good fundamental baseball. Senior Connor Carignan (Norwich, Conn.) roped a ground-rule double to right-center to start the Bulldogs in the third. Freshman Carl Anderson (Sudbury, Mass.) moved him to third with a sac bunt and Muscatello scored him with a sac fly to left. On the play, LIU left fielder Julian Castro made a nice diving play and made a great throw to the plate but Carignan avoided the tag to break the scoreless draw.

The Blackbirds had several chances to knot the score from the fourth inning on. In the fourth, Tyler Jones and Drew Walsh singled to put runners on first and second with one out and Albert Faz's ground ball up the middle seemed destined to tie the score. It didn't reach the outfield, however, as Muscatello dove full-out up the middle to snare the ground ball and then flipped to second to get a force out. The inning ended on the next batter as junior Adam Claire (Litchfield, Conn.) ranged in the hole at second to retire Castro.

They put two more runners on in the fifth as well but McAvoy got Brad Greve to hit into a inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. Two more runners reached with one out in the sixth but McAvoy again escaped, inducing a flyout and a ground out to end the frame. The Blackbirds had their best chance in the seventh as a walk, single and a hit by pitch loaded the bases with two outs. The Bulldogs called on Lacosse to face Pete Leonello and Lacosse was able to get out of the inning thanks to a diving catch from Carignan in center.

LIU was finally able to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth. Derek Stupski and Mike Garcia started the inning with singles before Lisanti got a strikeout and a flyout for the first two outs. Leonello kept the inning alive with a walk and Walsh's ground ball up the middle was mishandled to allow the tying run to score from third. Lisanti got a fly to the wall in left to end the inning and then got a pair of fly outs to end the 10th inning.

Jordan Wilcox was strong on the hill for LIU, allowing a run on five hits over seven innings. Rafael Gurrero tossed a scoreless eighth and Evan Zerff tossed two scoreless innings before hitting trouble in the 11th. He took the loss for the Blackbirds.

Lacosse retired all four batters he faced and Lisanti allowed just three hits and the one unearned run over 3 1/3 innings of relief. Muscatello and Carignan each had two hits for the Bulldogs. Brown led the Bulldogs with four hits on the weekend and reached base seven times.

Bryant has three days off before it opens up a four-game NEC series with Central Connecticut on Thursday, April 5. Game time is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.

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