Lakewood, NJ – For the first time in three years, the Sacred Heart Pioneers fell short of a Northeast Conference Championship, falling to the Bryant Bulldogs, 8-0, in the NEC Championship game, Sunday afternoon at First Energy Park in Lakewood, New Jersey. Sacred Heart finishes the season with a record of 34-24. The 34 wins ties a program record set in 2011.
Sacred Heart had not lost a game in the two prior Northeast Conference Tournaments, winning six straight games en route to back-to-back championships in 2011 and 2012. This was also the fifth straight appearance in the title game for Sacred Heart.
Junior Nick Leiningen (Millwood, NJ) earned the loss in the championship game, allowing six earned runs in 7.2 innings.
Bryant hopped all over Leiningen in the first inning, grabbing the 3-0 lead. Tournament MVP Jordan Mountford started the rally for the Bulldogs, leading off the game with a base hit to right field. Mountford came around to score Bryant's first run following a hit by pitch, walk and then another hit by pitch. St. George knocked in Bryant's second run with an RBI fielder's choice that scored Brown. Dan Muscatello capped the rally with a base hit to left field to score John Mullen.
The Bulldogs added a couple more runs in the third inning. NEC Player of Year Kevin Brown smoked a Leiningen fastball over the right field wall for a solo home run. Carl Anderson notched the other RBI in the inning with an RBI ground out to first base.
Bryant added three more runs in the 8th and 9th innings. Mountford doubled down the right field line to score Robby Rinn from second base. A.J Zarozny added a sacrifice fly in the 8th, to make it 7-0 Bryant.
The Bulldogs capped their scoring in the ninth, with Carl Anderson scoring on a wild pitch.
Senior Troy Scribner (Washington Depot, CT) and junior Dan Perez (Seymour, CT) made the All-Tournament team. Scribner pitched a complete game victory over Monmouth in game one of the tournament on Thursday. Scribner finished his career a perfect 4-0 in the NEC Tournament. Perez went 7 for 17 with four runs scored and 3 RBI in the four NEC Tournament games.
Senior shortstop John Murphy (Seymour, CT) ends his illustrious Sacred Heart career just three hits shy of the all-time Sacred Heart hits record with 264 career knocks.