SMITHFIELD, R.I.— The Sacred Heart University baseball team battled back with a six-run seventh inning in game two to earn a doubleheader split at Bryant on Saturday. The Bulldogs (21-15-1, 12-5 NEC) held on for the 4-3 win in game one before the Pioneers (10-22, 5-7 NEC) broke out late for the 9-6 win in game two at Conaty Park.
Game One – Bryant 4, SHU 3 – 7 inn.
Bryant jumped to the early lead in the opening game on a two-run single by Gabby Cruz with two outs in the first. SHU finally got on the board in the fifth inning as redshirt sophomore Jake Frasca roped the two-out RBI single to third to make the score 2-1.
The Bulldogs answered in the next half inning with a RBI single by James Ciliento to push the lead back to two. Both teams picked up runs on errors in the sixth inning as SHU went into the seventh down by two at 4-2.
The Pioneers picked up the bases loaded with no outs to start the inning on three straight walks. Co-captain PJ DeFilippo recorded the sacrifice fly to bring the score to 4-3. SHU tried to bring in the tying run from second on a single by sophomore Bobby Garbuio but Ciliento gunned down the runner at the dish before a strikeout ended the game.
SHU outhit Bryant 10-7 in the opening game with Frasca leading the way with three hits for his fifth three-hit performance in league play.
Junior Brent Teller held the Bulldogs to seven hits, pitching the complete game for the Pioneers. He struck out six batters, surrendering three earned runs in the loss.
Game Two – SHU 9, Bryant 3 – 7 inn.
The Bulldogs continued the momentum from game one with another two-run inning in the bottom of the first as Chris Wright recorded the RBI single and Mickey Gasper scored on a double steal attempt. Senior Anthony Capozziello continued his strong weekend with a two-out double down the line in left to bring the score to 2-1 in the second inning.
Both offenses stayed quiet till the sixth as senior Dan Schock led off the inning with a home run over the left field wall to tie it at 2-2. SHU took the lead on a two-out RBI single by Ocean State native Elijah Brown later in the frame. Bryant answered right back on a one-out home run to right field by Gasper to tie it at 3-3.
The Pioneers took hold of the game in the seventh with a six-run inning as sophomore Stephen Thibault, DeFilippo and Brown all recorded two-RBI singles in the inning to take the 9-3 lead. The Bulldogs put a scare with three runs in the bottom half but SHU was able to hand on for the win.
SHU outhit Bryant once again at 12-7 in game two, snapping a five-game losing skid in the process.
Freshman Matt Aufiero earned his first collegiate start, pitching five and a third innings in the no-decision. He surrendered three runs on four hits while strikeout out three. Classmate Cooper Thompson earned the win in relief, finishing the final inning and two thirds.
The Pioneers conclude the season series against the Bulldogs tomorrow with a 1:00 p.m. first pitch from Conaty Park.