SMITHFIELD, RI – After going down 7-0 through four innings, the Sacred Heart Pioneers nearly came all the way back before falling to the Bryant Bulldogs 7-6 Sunday afternoon at Conaty Park. Sacred Heart and Bryant split the four-game set and SHU now sits at 9-7 in the NEC.
Starting pitcher Nick Morrissey (Howell, NJ) earned the loss, allowing five earned runs in 3.2 innings. Morrissey also walked two and hit three, while the Pioneers made four errors behind him.
Bryant built up their lead with three runs in the second inning and four more in the fourth.
After Robby Rinn walked to begin the second, Matt Albanese hit a double to center field to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead. Following a pop out, left fielder Dan St. George knocked a double down the left field line to score Albanese. The ball ended up being misplayed by SHU left fielder Kenny Byram (Ponte Vedra, FL) and then thrown it away by shortstop Zack Short (Hurley, NY) to allow St. George to come all the way around and score.
In the fourth, Cole Fabio began things for Bryant with an infield hit. Following a hit by pitch to Dan Cellucci, Carl Anderson drilled a triple to right field to score both Fabio and Cellucci as Bryant led 5-0. After another hit by pitch to A.J Zarozny, Matt Zanotta grounded into a potential double play but an errant throw by Short at shortstop allowed Anderson to score. Rinn then capped off the Bryant scoring with a double to left center field and after four full innings Bryant led 7-0.
Sacred Heart began the climb back in the sixth inning, scoring three runs. Byram began the rally with a lead-off walk, while Medina followed with a base hit to left center. Short then knocked a sacrifice fly to bring home Byram and put SHU on the board. Sullivan followed Short with a RBI single up the middle. Following a Matt Charmello (Rossmoor, CA) base knock and a Bryant pitching change, Derick Horn (Valatie, NY) hit the Pioneers second sac fly of the inning to make the score 7-3.
Sacred Heart continued the comeback in the eighth, scoring three more runs. Sophomore Jayson Sullivan (Charlton, NY) started the rally with a walk, before reaching second base on a wild pitch. Horn then drew a one-out walk to put runners on first and second. After a Bryant pitching change to bring in left-hander Trevor Lacrosse, senior Dan Perez (Seymour, CT) smacked a pinch-hit single up the middle to bring Sullivan home. Next batter Victor Sorrento (Monroe Township, NJ) kept the rally going with a single to load the bases. After Ted Shaw (Southington, CT) struck out, Byram came up with a clutch two-out single to right center field and SHU was within one run at 7-6.
After getting a lead-off base hit by Short to start the ninth, the Pioneers were unable to complete the comeback. A failed sacrifice bunt attempt, followed by Short getting thrown out attempting to steal second gave Bryant two-outs with no one on base. Lacosse would then strike out Charmello to end the game.
Sacred Heart will take on the Wagner Seahawks next weekend for a four-game series beginning on Friday afternoon.