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Cruz, Palmieri lift Bryant past Western Carolina

Denise Ipsen Photo
Denise Ipsen Photo

CULLOWHEE, N.C. – Senior Gaby Cruz (Miami, Fla.) hit a three-run home run and grad student Mason Palmieri (Lincoln, R.I.) posted his second quality start of the season to lead the Bryant University baseball team to a 7-3 victory over Western Carolina on Tuesday afternoon.

Cruz's three-run home run in the third inning opened a 5-0 Bryant lead and Palmieri held the Catamounts to three runs over six innings to earn his first-career victory. Cruz and sophomore Jake Gustin (Peabody, Mass.) each finished with multiple hits, with Gustin stealing a pair of bases. Junior Nick Viscariello (Plymouth, Mass.) had reached base three times with two hits and an HBP and drove in a run.

Four Bryant pitchers combined to strike out five and walk just two on the afternoon.

Game Information
Bryant 7, Western Carolina 3
Bryant (3-11), Western Carolina (8-7)
Location: Childress Field and Hennon Stadium (Cullowhee, N.C.)
W|L|S: Mason Palmieri (1-1) | Corey Bright (0-2)

Key Moment

  • Cruz gave the Bulldogs a bit of breathing room in the third as he made it 5-0 with a three-run home run to left center.        

How it Happened

  • Bryant opened the scoring in the second inning. Junior Shane Kelly (Sewell, N.J.) led off the inning with a double and Vicariello was hit by a pitch to put two on. Freshman Alex Lane (Andover, Mass.) then laid down a sac bunt that was thrown wild at first, loading the bases. Bryant's first run scored on a 6-4-3 double play before a dropped fly ball scored the second.
  • Cruz made it 5-0 with one swing of the bat in the third. Back-to-back singles from senior James Ciliento (Mahwah, N.J.) and Gustin opened the inning before Cruz swatted a three-run home run to left center.
  • Western Carolina cut the deficit to two with two runs in the third and one more in the fourth. Back-to-back doubles and an RBI fielder's choice plate the runs in the third, while a two-out RBI single made it 5-3 in the fourth.   
  • Bryant added insurance runs in the seventh and ninth. In the seventh, Gustin and Cruz collected back-to-back two-out singles and then performed a double steal. Kelly then hit a deep ground ball to short and the Catamounts were able to get Cruz at third but not before Gustin crossed the plate.
  • In the ninth, Kelly reached on a dropped third strike with two outs, stole second and scored on a single from Viscariello.


  • Bryant played error-free baseball.
  • The Bulldogs stole five bases in the game.
  • Palmieri allowed three runs on five hits, walked two and struck out four over six innings.
  • Sophomore Jackson Harrigan (Acton, Mass.) pitched a perfect seventh.  
  • Junior Matthew Stansky (Douglas, Mass.) tossed a scoreless eighth inning.
  • Senior Jack Ipsen (Eatontown, N.J.) struck out two in a scoreless ninth to close the door. 
  • Gustin went 2-for-4 with a walk, two stolen bases and two runs scored.
  • Cruz finished 2-for-5 with a home run and three RBI.
  • Kelly doubled, stole a base and scored twice.
  • Viscariello went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.

Notes and Notables

  • Bryant and Western Carolina were meeting for the first time.
  • Bryant's seven runs are a season-high.
  • Palmieri matched his career-high with 6.0 innings pitched.
  • The victory is the first for Palmieri in his career. 
  • Cruz now leads the team with three home runs. He has 13 in his career.
  • Cruz posted his first multi-hit game of the season and the 30th two-hit game of his career.
  • Gustin posted his fourth multi-hit game of the year, tying for the team lead.
  • Viscariello posted his third multi-hit game of the season.  
  • Bryant stole five bases in the game and now has 31 on the season.   

Up Next

The Bulldogs and Catamounts finish their two-game midweek series on Wednesday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.