Kelich stifles Pioneers in game one

Kelich stifles Pioneers in game one


SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Junior Peter Kelich (Jackson, N.J.) tossed a three-hit shutout and junior Kevin Brown (Northborough, Mass.) scored the only run needed in the bottom of the fourth as the Bryant University baseball team defeated Sacred Heart 1-0 in game one of their Northeast Conference series Friday afternoon at Conaty Park.

Completed in a brisk hour and 35 minutes, the win is the sixth-straight in conference play for the Bulldogs (18-14, 11-2 NEC) and Kelich's 21st career victory. The Pioneers (10-21, 7-6 NEC) have now lost five-straight.

Friday's series opener was a pitching duel throughout as Kelich and Sacred Heart starter Nick Leiningen matched zeros for most of the afternoon. Both tossed complete games and allowed just eight total hits on the afternoon.

Deadlocked after the first three and a half innings, Brown scored the only run of the afternoon himself. He led off the bottom of the fourth with a triple to right-center and then scored two pitches later on a wild pitch.

Following the Brown triple, Leiningen set down the next 14 Bulldogs in order before sophomore Jonathan Scott (Princeton, N.J.) singled with two outs in the eighth. Leinigen threw just 94 pitches on the afternoon, struck out three and did not walk a batter.

Kelich was just a bit better. Making his fourth conference start of the season, Kelich threw his second complete-game shutout of the year. Kelich shutout LIU Brooklyn on seven hits two weekends ago and dispatched the Pioneers on just three hits Friday. He struck out six and walked just one, throwing 115 pitches on the afternoon. Kelich is now 4-0 with a 1.09 ERA in conference play. In three career starts against Sacred Heart, Kelich is 3-0 and has not allowed a run in 23 innings.  

Sacred Heart had two chances to get to Kelich in the middle innings. In the fourth, Dan Perez singled and a throwing error allowed Dave Boisture to reach, putting runners on first and second with one out. Kelich responded by striking out the next batter and then won an 11-pitch at-bat against Derrick Horn, inducing an inning-ending fly to left.

The Pioneers put runners on first and second again in the sixth with a single and a walk but junior Dan Muscatello (Hopkinton, Mass.) made a great defensive play to get Kelich out of the inning. Boisture lined the first pitch towards the right side and Muscatello made a diving catch, got to his feet and doubled the runner off of first. The sixth-inning threat was Sacred Heart's last push of the afternoon as Kelich set down the final 10 Pioneers in order to complete the shutout.

Bryant's hottest hitter the last two weeks, senior Connor Carignan (Norwich, Conn.) picked up three of the Bulldogs' five hits on the afternoon. In his last 12 games, Carignan his hitting .421 (16-for-38) and is now hitting .324 against conference opponents.

The Bulldogs and Pioneers continue their weekend series on Saturday with a doubleheader scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. Both games will be seven-innings, with game two starting approximately 30 minutes following the completion of game one.