I sent one of my trusted confidants down to Smithfield, Rhode Island to take in the Boston College and Bryant University game on a beautiful Wednesday afternoon. The Bryant Bulldogs ended up knocking off their second ACC squad on the year with an 8-5 victory behind two homers from senior Pat McKenna who finished the day by going a perfect 3 for 3 at the plate.
The game started out slowly for Bryant as Boston College got their first two runners on with singles by Robbie Anston and Brad Zapenas. Boston College coach Mik Aoki had number 3 hitter Tony Sanchez lay down a sacrifice bunt to third base which was thrown away allowing the Eagles to load the bases with no outs in the first inning. Cleanup hitter Mickey Wiswall drove a ball into left field to score the first run of the game and keep the bases loaded. Mike Belfiore followed with a bases loaded walk to bring home the second run of the game. Barry Butera followed with a ground ball to shortstop Pat McKenna who flipped over to Dylan Stone at second base allowing Tony Sanchez to score the third run of the inning. The final run of the inning would score on a groundout to the first baseman to give the Eagles a 4-0 lead after 1/2 of an inning.
The Bulldogs would not stay down long as leadoff hitter Pat McKenna would greet BC freshman RHP Taylor Lasko rudely by hitting his first homer of the day over the center field wall. The Bulldogs would not be able to get any other runners on base as they trailed 4-1 after one inning of play.
Bryant University scored a single run in the second inning while Boston College posted a single run in the fourth to put the score at 5-2 in favor of the Eagles heading into the bottom of the fifth inning. BC head coach Mik Aoki started the inning off by bringing in LHP Matt O’Brien (transfer from Holy Cross) to start the inning. Bryant DH Mike DelPonte started the inning off with a single up the middle. The next two Bulldogs batters would get out with infield pop ups when Pat McKenna stepped to the plate again in a key moment. He would hit a long double to the left centerfield gap which would allow DelPonte to score all the way from first base to put the score at 5-3. McKenna would move over to third base on a wild pitch and eventually score on a Dylan Stone double to right center field to bring teh Bulldogs to a 5-4 deficit. Matt Brazis would come in for Matt O’Brien and gave up a single to Nick Campbell to drive home Dylan Stone which tied the game at 5.
Bryant would hold the Eagles scoreless in the top of the sixth inning which kept the score tied at 5. The Bulldogs offense came alive again in the bottom of the six inning with one out when Jordan English would walk. Next batter, Mike DelPonte would hit a ground ball to BC shortstop Garrett Smith who made a poor throw to second base allowing English to get third with one out in the inning. He would come home on a squeeze bunt by Jamie Skagerlind to give the Bulldogs the lead for good at 6-5.
Pat McKenna led off the seventh inning by greeting new Boston College pitcher Dane Clemens with a home run over the right center field fence and give Bryant a 7-5 lead. Bryant would tack on another run in the bottom of the eighth inning by scoring a run on a double and scoring eventually on a wild pitch which gave the final scoreline of 8-5.
Senior Chris Foundas (1-0) picked up his first win of the year by going 6.1 innings while giving up five runs (four earned) on seven hits while walking three and hitting two batters. Dane Clemens (0-1) got the loss after pitching one inning giving up an unearned run while walking a batter and surrendering only a single hit. Bryant left-handed closer Mark Andrews picked up his fourth save on the season by pitching a scoreless ninth inning.
This was the second straight day that one of the staff members had seen the Bryant University team which will not be eligible for the NCAA tournament until 2012-2013 season. They are a young and talented team which can hit with some of the better teams in the Northeast part of the country. Bryant was a regional power in Division 2 and will likely be able to carry that over to Division 1 in the coming seasons as the recruits get better. We will be checking in on the Bulldogs throughout the 2009 season when time permits us.