BULLDOGS WIN GAME ONE, 5-2, EXPLODE FOR 22 RUNS IN GAME TWO
HAMDEN, Conn. – The Bryant University baseball team scored a season-high 20 runs and slugged eight doubles in a 22-4 rout of Quinnipiac University Saturday afternoon at the QU Baseball Field. The Bulldogs won the first game of the day, 5-2, to complete the four-game Northeast Conference sweep of the Bobcats.
The Bulldogs (25-15, 17-3 NEC) have now won five-straight games for the third time this season and have won 11-of-12 against the Bobcats (6-32, 5-19 NEC) over the last three years. Bryant's four-game sweep paired with Monmouth's four-game sweep of Mount St. Mary's keeps the Bulldogs two games ahead of the Hawks for first-place in the NEC standings. The 22 runs are the most runs the Bulldogs have scored in a single-game since they scored 24 against Felician in 2007. The run total is also the most since the Bulldogs became a Division I program in 2009.
Sophomore Joseph Michaud (Milford, Conn.) limited Quinnipiac to two runs on three hits over five innings and the Black and Gold received home runs from senior Jamie Skagerlind (Holden, Mass.) and freshman John Mullen (Walpole, Mass.) to take game one, 5-2.
The Bulldogs got on the board immediately as senior Connor Carignan (Norwich, Conn.) continue to spark the offense from the leadoff spot. Carignan singled to start the game, moved to second on a sac bunt and then stole third and scored as the throw sailed into left field.
Still holding a 1-0 advantage in the fourth inning, Mullen quickly increased the Bulldogs' lead, launching his fourth home run of the year to left field to begin the inning. Skagerlind followed Mullen's home run with a double and scored three batters later on a sac fly from freshman Matt Zanotta (Schenectady, N.Y.).
Quinnipiac finally got to Michaud in the fifth inning, cutting the deficit to a single run. Forrest Dwyer walked and Brian Ruditys was hit to start the inning and Scott Donaghue brought both home with a two-run, ground-rule double to center field.
Whatever momentum the Bobcats had built in the bottom of the fifth, Skagerlind extinguished it in the sixth with a leadoff home run to dead center. Bryant would take on its final run of the inning with a two-out rally as Zanotta, freshman Jordan Mountford (Guelph, Ont.) and Carignan ripped consecutive singles to make it 5-2.
In winning his third-straight decision and his sixth game overall, Michaud scattered the three hits over his five innings of work. He retired the side in order in the first and limited the Bobcats to just a single in the second before hitting trouble in the third. Dwyer led off with a single, moved to second on a sac bunt and to third on a wild pitch. He didn't advance any further, though, as Michaud got a ground ball to third and a grounder to short to end the inning. Michaud got three more ground outs in the fourth before allowing the two fifth-inning runs.
Holding a 5-2 lead in the sixth, the Black and Gold summoned freshman Trevor Lacosse (Watervliet, N.Y.) from the bullpen to close the door. The rookie left-hander allowed three hits over two innings but held the Bobcats off the board to earn his first career save. Back-to-back two-out singles loaded the bases for QU in the sixth but Lacosse ended the threat by inducing a ground ball to short, and then worked around a leadoff error in the seventh to complete the save.
Skagerlind finished with three hits and two runs scored and Carignan was 2-for-3 from the leadoff spot.
Sophomore Jonathan Scott (Princeton, N.J.) drove in a career-high five runs and the Bulldogs scored 18 runs in their first four at-bats to cruise to a 22-4 victory in game two.
Bryant had the bats going early and often in the second game, scoring six runs in each of the first two innings. Junior Dan Muscatello (Hopkinton, Mass.) worked a one-out walk and then the Bulldog bats erupted. Junior Kevin Brown (Northborough, Mass.) followed with an RBI double, Mullen matched him with an RBI ground-rule double and Skagerlind smashed his second home run of the day to make it 4-0 five batters into the game. Scott then capped the inning by scoring senior Mike DelPonte (Tewksbury, Mass.) with a double and then scoring himself moments later on a wild pitch.
The Bulldogs went right back to work in the second inning, plating six more runs on just three hits. Muscatello started the inning with a single and would score the first run of the inning on the backend of a double-steal with Brown. Scott delivered another big blow four batters later, clearing the bases with his first career triple to make it 10-0. Freshman Carl Anderson (Sudbury, Mass.) followed with an RBI double and then scored the final run of the inning on a wild pitch.
Six more runs over the next two innings would effectively put the game away. Scott drew a bases loaded walk and Anderson delivered a two-run single to make it 15-0 in the third. After QU scratched across a run in the bottom of the third, the Bulldogs tacked on three more in the fourth. Muscatello scored on a wild pitch, Mullen scored Mountford with a sac fly and Zanotta capped the scoring with a pinch-hit RBI double.
The offensive explosion overshadowed another stellar outing from freshman Kevin McAvoy (Syracuse, N.Y.). Saddled with a no decision in each of his previous four starts, McAvoy allowed just one run on five hits and struck out five over five innings to earn his third win of the season. The rookie right-hander didn't allow a hit over the first two innings before allowing three hits and his only run in the third. He finished his afternoon by working around a two-out double in the fourth and then started a 1-6-3 double play to help himself in the fifth.
Junior Ryan Granat (Long Valley, N.J.) relieved McAvoy in the sixth and put together his strongest outing of the season. He worked two innings, allowing three unearned runs on just two hits. Grant retired the side in the sixth with a pair of groundouts and then hit trouble in the seventh. QU touched him for just two hits in the inning but a pair of infield errors helped the Bobcats score three runs.
Muscatello, Brown, Mullen and DelPonte all scored three runs in the game, while Scott and Anderson, the 7-8 hitters in the lineup, combined to drive in eight runs. In his last seven games, Scott is hitting .563 (9-for-16) with six RBI and three runs scored. Skagerlind was equally impressive on the afternoon, collecting two doubles, two home runs, five RBI and four runs scored. Saturday's two games finished off an outstanding week for the senior first baseman, as he hit .500 (12-for-24) with three three-hit games, four doubles, eight runs and six RBI. He now leads the team with a .314 average.
The Bulldogs will look for the elusive sixth-straight victory when they visit the region's top-ranked team, the University of Connecticut. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. at J.O. Christian Field in Storrs, Conn.
NOTES: Freshman catcher Colin Walsh (Tewksbury, Mass.) collected his first career hit and first career RBI with an eighth inning single … Freshman infielder Alex Lagos (Wrentham, Mass.) also picked up his first career hit with a ninth-inning single … senior right-hander Dan Walsh (Burlington, Mass.) made his first appearance after missing over two months with an injury … He threw a scoreless eighth inning.