Baseball sweeps DH behind Schlitter's gem

Baseball sweeps DH behind Schlitter's gem


SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Sophomore Craig Schlitter (Guilford, Conn.) tossed his first career complete game shutout, setting down the final 19 batters, to lead the Bryant University baseball team to a 3-0 victory in game one, and the Bulldogs scored six runs over the final four innings to earn a 6-2 victory in game two and complete a Northeast Conference doubleheader sweep of Central Connecticut State University on Friday afternoon at Conaty Park.

The Bulldogs (16-13, 9-2 NEC) have now won four-straight games, while the Blue Devils (15-13, 9-6 NEC) have lost four-straight. Bryant now leads the all-time series, 7-4.

The story of game one was Schlitter. After allowing a leadoff triple to Jake Matuszak in the first inning, Schlitter was lights out. He struck out the next batter, Matuszak was erased trying to score on a ground ball to third and a fly to right ended the inning. Schlitter didn't allow another Blue Devil to reach base. He allowed just one hit, struck out five and induced 12 fly ball outs.

Bryant had just as good a chance in the bottom of the first. Batting leadoff for the first time in his career, freshman John Mullen (Walpole, Mass.) doubled to left-center and moved to third on a ground out by junior Kevin Brown (Northborough, Mass.). The Bulldogs couldn't produce him though as back-to-back fly outs ended the inning.

The Bulldogs finally broke the deadlock in the bottom of the fourth inning. Junior Adam Claire (Litchfield, Conn.) started the inning with a single through the right side, senior Mike DelPonte (Tewksbury, Mass.) was hit by a pitch and senior Jamie Skagerlind (Holden, Mass.) moved both runners into scoring position with a sac bunt. Freshman Daniel St. George (Shelton, Conn.) provided the big hit as he followed the Skagerlind bunt with a single to center that was bobbled, allowing both Claire and DelPonte to cross the plate. Bryant threatened for more in the inning as junior Dan Muscatello (Hopkinton, Mass.) and Joseph Carcone (New Hartford, N.Y.) rapped consecutive singles but were stranded on second and third.

Bryant added to its lead in the very next inning. Mullen reached on an error to start the inning, moved to second on a passed ball and scored on a Claire single to center. The Bulldogs looked to add to their lead as DelPonte doubled to put runners on second and third with one out but CCSU starter Cody Brown rebounded to get a strikeout and a line out to short to end the inning.

Claire and Carcone each finished with two hits and Mullen, Claire and DelPonte scored the Bulldogs' runs. Cody Brown tossed a complete game for CCSU, allowing three runs (two earned) on eight hits.

Game Two

In game two, the Bulldogs battled back from a 2-0 deficit by scoring six runs over the final four innings to complete the sweep of the Blue Devils.

Held scoreless for 17-straight innings dating back to the first inning of Thursday's first game, the Blue Devils finally got on the board with a pair of runs in the third inning. Josh Ingham walked to start the inning and Jake Matuszak laid down a perfect bunt that was thrown away at first to put runners on second and third. Bryant starter Joseph Michaud (Milford, Conn.) then balked to score Ingham and a throwing error by Mullen allowed the second run to cross the plate.

Showing resiliency, the Bulldogs responded with a run in the bottom of the third. Muscatello started the inning with a triple to right-center and scored Bryant's first run on a Carignan infield single to third.

Michaud rebounded in the fourth to set down the Blue Devils in order and the Bulldogs got right back on the bats in their half of the inning. Brown led off the fourth by hooking a line drive around the fair pole in right field for a game-tying home run. It was his ninth home run of the season. The Bulldogs kept the rally going as Mullen laced an infield single off the third baseman's glove. He moved to second on a passed ball, to third on a DelPonte ground out and scored the lead run on a Jonathan Scott (Princeton, N.J.) sac fly.

The Bulldogs padded their lead in the fifth. Carignan started the inning with a single through the right side and Claire's sac bunt turned into a three-base error as the throw to first sailed down the right field line. Carignan didn't break stride and scored all the way from first, and Claire scored two batters later on a Mullen sac fly to left, putting Bryant up 5-2.

The Black and Gold capped their scoring in the sixth with a single run. Skagerlind smacked a single up the middle to start the inning, moved to second on a wild pitch and stopped at third as Muscatello drilled a single through the right side. Carignan followed with his third hit of the game, a sharp single to center, to score Skagerlind from third and make the score 6-2.

After the rough third inning, Michaud settled down to throw six innings and pick up his fourth victory of the season. He notched a 1-2-3 fourth, he left runners on first and third in the fifth and worked around a leadoff single to record a scoreless sixth. On the afternoon, Michaud allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits with three strikeouts over six innings. Salvatore Lisanti (Bronx, N.Y.) pitched a scoreless seventh to close the door and secure the series victory for the Black and Gold.

Muscatello led the Bulldogs with three hits in the two games and Mullen had a hit in each game, scored twice and drove in a run. Carignan finished game two with three hits, two RBI and Skagerlind also chipped in two hits.

The Bulldogs and Blue Devils will complete their weekend series on Saturday with a 1:00 p.m. first pitch. Freshman Kevin McAvoy (Syracuse, N.Y.) will get the ball for the Bulldogs.