The Central Connecticut baseball team fell to Bryant, 6-3, in Northeast Conference action on Friday at CCSU Baseball Field. The game was the first of a four-game series in a matchup of the top two teams in the NEC.
The Blue Devils slip to 19-15 overall and 10-4 in NEC play, while the Bulldogs are now 16-19 overall and 9-2 in the league.
The game was scoreless until Bryant broke through with four runs in the third inning after collecting four straight hits to open the frame. Nick Angelini drove in two runs with a single up the middle to make it 2-0. Mickey Gasper followed with a homerun to right field to make it 4-0.
The Blue Devils came back with three runs in the fourth inning to close the deficit to a run. Junior Mitch Guilmette led off with an infield single before back-to-back walks loaded the bases. Guilmette came home on an infield groundout by junior Nick Garland to make it 4-1. A wild pitch would put runners on second and third before junior Dean Lockery delivered a two-run single through the middle with two outs to make it 4-3.
The Bulldogs would get two of those runs back after opening the fifth inning with back-to-back doubles. Gasper drove in Angelini to make it 5-3. Gasper would score on a one-out double by Jimmy Titus to make it 6-3.
After Bryant lifted starter James Karinchak after he tossed 5.0 innings, the Blue Devils best opportunity to score would come in the seventh inning. Guilmette would reach on a fielder's choice with two outs and freshman Buddy Dewaine and senior Franklin Jennings would draw walks to load the bases. Jack Patterson would escape unscathed after inducing a groundball to end the inning.
The Blue Devils finished with seven hits on the day, led by Guilmette who went 2-for-4. Jennings finished 1-for-1 and drew three walks. Lockery drove in a pair of runs.
Sophomore Mike Appel started and went 6.0 innings for CCSU. He struck out four, but was charged with six runs on 11 hits and two walks. The Central bullpen allowed just two walks over the final three innings.
Karinchak got the win, tossing 5.0 innings and allowing three runs. He struck out 10 and walked four. Patterson got the save, tossing 4.0 shutout innings.
The Bulldogs collected 11 hits, with five players collecting two hits each. Gasper had two hits with three runs batted in, while Angelini added two hits and two RBIs.
The series continues with a pair of seven-inning games on Saturday beginning at 1:00 p.m.