Top two teams in NEC meet as Bryant visits CCSU this weekend

Photo by: Rhett Hutchins
Photo by: Rhett Hutchins

GAME NOTES

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The Bryant University baseball team returns to the state of Connecticut for a four-game Northeast Conference series with Central Connecticut. The series begins on Friday afternoon at 3:00 p.m.

LINKS

FridayLive Stats

SaturdayLive Stats Gm1 | Live Stats Gm2

SundayLive Stats

PROBABLE PITCHERS

FridayJames Karinchak (3-1, 1.99) vs. Mike Appel (1-2, 3.89)

SaturdaySteve Theetge (4-5, 5.66) vs. Brendan Smith (3-4, 3.00)

SaturdayVito Morgese (3-4, 5.34) vs. Mike Delease (2-0, 2.25)

SundayCraig Lacey (0-0, 4.37) vs. Ron Grant (2-2, 6.57)

Karinchak gets the ball in Friday's opener and will look to improve upon a solid career against CCSU. He is 4-0 with a 0.64 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 28 innings. Karinchak has surrendered just two runs on 22 hits and went 3-0 with 22 strikeouts and a 0.86 ERA in three starts against the Blue Devils last year.

Theetge also fared well against CCSU last year, going 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in 12 innings. He surrendered four runs on 10 hits, walked two and struck out nine. Theetge is coming off a career-high eight strikeouts against LIU Brooklyn and has won each of his last three starts.

Morgese and Lacey will pitch the final two games of the series. It will be Morgese's first-career NEC start. He has won three-straight midweek starts, posting three-consecutive quality starts. Lacey was strong for the first three innings last week but was bounced in the fourth, surrendering four runs.

CCSU's rotation is solid 1-4. Smith has pitched eight innings in each of his last two starts, allowing just two runs. Appel tossed a no-hitter against Mount St. Mary's in March, while Delease has allowed just one run in his last 15 1/3 innings. Appel went 0-2 and allowed nine runs on nine hits in 10 innings against Bryant last year.

SERIES HISTORY

Bryant owns a 26-8 lead in the all-time series with CCSU. The Bulldogs won eight of the nine meetings last year, taking 7-of-8 during the regular season before beating the Blue Devils in the first game of the NEC Tournament. It was the second postseason meeting between the two teams, with the Bulldogs winning both. In total, Bryant outscored CCSU 65-21 in the nine games last year.

NOTES AND NOTABLES FOR CCSU

With Tuesday's eighth-inning comeback, eight of Bryant's last 12 wins have been come-from-behind victories.

It was also the second-straight game the Bulldogs won when trailing after seven innings. Bryant is now 3-17 when trailing after seven this season. The Bulldogs had won just six games total in the previous six seasons when trailing after seven.

This will be Bryant's 56th NEC series since joining the league in 2010. The Bulldogs have won or tied 52 of them so far and have not lost an NEC series since April 19-21, 2013 at Sacred Heart.

CCSU holds one of the series victories over the Bulldogs, taking 3-of-4 in New Britain during the 2011 season.

Senior Cole Fabio (Mahwah, N.J.) stole his 57th career base on Tuesday and is now in sole possession of first place in Bryant's DI history. He has now stolen at least 12 bases in each of his four seasons.

Fabio also has 113 career walks, tying him with Pat McKenna for the all-time program record.

Sophomore Nick Angelini (Bedford, N.H.) leads the Bulldogs with a .333 average in NEC games. He has six RBI, 11 runs scored and a .477 OBP in 10 games.

Freshman Chris Wright (Cumberland, R.I.) has driven in 11 runs in NEC play this year. He is tied with LIU's Joe Curcio and CCSU's TT Bowens for the most by a rookie in the league.

SCOUTING THE BLUE DEVILS

CCSU enters the weekend in second place in the NEC with a 10-3 mark. They have posted a pair of three-game sweeps against Mount St. Mary's and took 3-of-4 from LIU Brooklyn. The Blue Devils are hitting .251 as a team but have the best ERA in the NEC at 4.06. Dean Lockery leads the team with a .339 average, 41 hits and 30 walks. Ryan Costello has 12 doubles, five home runs and 29 RBI despite hitting just .232.

Jared Gallagher, Nick Plachno and Patrick Mitchell have been strong out of the bullpen. Gallagher has appeared in 11 games and is 3-1 with a four saves and a 0.78 ERA. Plachno has two saves, a 1.59 ERA and has surrendered just four hits in 11 1/3 innings. Mitchell has two saves, a 1.99 ERA and has walked just four batters in 22 2/3 innings.