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Ninth inning rally sends Bryant to NEC Championship Round

Ninth inning rally sends Bryant to NEC Championship Round

NORWICH, Conn. – Down to its final three outs the second-seeded Bryant University baseball team scored four times in the top of the ninth to eliminate third-seeded Central Connecticut in game five of the 2022 Northeast Conference Baseball Championships on Saturday at Dodd Stadium.

With its 20th NEC Tournament victory in program history, the Bulldogs advance to Sunday's NEC Championship Round against top-seeded LIU. Bryant will need two victories over the Sharks to claim its fourth NEC Tournament title. First pitch for game six is set for 12:00 p.m.

After falling in 13 innings earlier in the day, the Bulldogs' season was on the line as they trailed 7-6 entering the ninth against tournament nemesis CCSU. Derek Smith singled and Carmine Petosa walked to start the rally and Shane Kelly tied the game with a single to center. John Tuccillo followed with a single to left to score pinch-runner Matt Smith with the lead run. Logan Allen and Matt Woods added RBI singles to provide insurance.

Game Information
Bryant 10, Central Connecticut 8
Records: Bryant 29-26 | CCSU 29-18
Location: Dodd Stadium (Norwich, Conn.)
W|L|S: Matt Stansky (1-0) | Tim Buchek (0-3) | John MacDonald (2)

Key Moment

  • Kelly tied the game with a single to center and Tuccillo gave Bryant the lead with a single to left in the top of the ninth. Bryant would score four times in the top of the ninth.           

How it Happened

  • Bryant got on the board in the first as Jake Gustin walked with one out and Petosa launched a two-run home run to deep right with two outs.
  • CCSU answered back with a pair of doubles from Jay Devito and Noah Martinez to score a run in the bottom of the first.
  • The Blue Devils took their first lead with a two-run home run from Dan Covino in the third.
  • CCSU added a run on an RBI single from Michael Torniero in the fourth.
  • Bryant was able to tie the game with one swing of the bat in the fifth. Gustin walked and then Kelly fouled off four-straight 3-2 pitches before launching a two-run shot to deep center that cleared both fences.  
  • The Blue Devils were able to retake the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Two walks and a single loaded the bases and Kyle Gordon's 120-foot flare to shallow right scored a run. Allegretti was able to limit the damage, getting a strikeout and a ground out.
  • Bryant took that momentum to the top of the sixth, scoring twice to retake the lead. Jackson Phinney singled and Allen walked to put two on with one out. After a wild pitch, Woods ripped a single to right to score Phinney but Allen was thrown out at the plate. Gustin followed with a hard double over the head of a leaping right fielder to score Woods from first and give Bryant a 6-5 lead.
  • CCSU quickly answered, taking a 7-6 lead on a two-run double from Covino in the next CCSU at-bat. M.T. Morrissey limited the damage, however, getting a ground out and a line out to end the rally.
  • Bryant entered the ninth down a run but Smith was able to start the rally with a hard single off the glove of the CCSU third baseman. Petosa then drew a five-pitch walk that summoned Jake Neuman out of the bullpen. Kelly fouled off two-straight 2-2 pitches before running the count full. He then laced a 3-2 pitch into center to score Smith from second and tie the game. Tuccillo then ripped the first pitch he saw into left to score the other Smith and give Bryant an 8-7 lead. There were runners on second and third with two outs when Allen hit a soft chopper over the mound that drove in a run. Woods followed with a hard single to right to make it 10-7.
  • CCSU attempted to rally in the bottom of the ninth, putting its first two runners on. MacDonald entered and induced three-straight fly outs to end the game.

Stats and Game Notes

  • Bryant is now 20-12 in the NEC Tournament.
  • The Bulldogs improved to 6-4 all-time against CCSU in the NEC Tournament. Bryant won all six meetings that didn't occur in the championship round.
  • Bryant will be making its seventh NEC Championship Round appearance. The Bulldogs have made the final in 2013 (champions), 2014 (champions), 2015, 2016 (champions), 2019 and 2021.
  • The Bulldogs posted their sixth win when they've trailed or have been tied after six innings. Bryant has trailed in the sixth inning or later in five of its last eight wins.
  • Woods posted his 27th multi-hit game of the year. He now has 82 hits, tied for the sixth-most in a single season in DI program history. His 137 total bases are tied for the fourth-most.
  • Gustin walked in each of his first three plate appearances and finished 1-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored. He doubled home a run.
  • Petosa finished 2-for-3 with a two-run home run. It was his sixth of the season.
  • Kelly finished 2-for-5 with a two-run home run and the game-tying single in the ninth. He has driven in six runs in the NEC Tournament and 23 in 13 games since his return.
  • Kelly has RBI hits in the ninth inning of each of the last two games.
  • Tuccillo picked up his second game-tying or game-leading RBI in the ninth inning of the tournament.
  • Allen finished with two hits and an RBI.
  • Austin Wainer started for Bryant and allowed three runs on three hits, walked one and struck out three over 3.0 innings.
  • Brett Wichrowski allowed two runs on two hits over 1.1 innings. He walked four.
  • Christian Allegretti allowed two runs on three hits in an inning of work.
  • M.T. Morrissey tossed 2.1 scoreless innings of relief. He allowed one hit.
  • Matt Stansky earned his first win of the season, recording the final out of the eighth inning.
  • MacDonald retired the three batters he faced to earn his second save.

Up Next
Bryant advances to the NEC Championship Round on Sunday against top-seeded LIU. The Bulldogs will need two victories to claim their fourth NEC Championship.