WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. - Bryant University tied the game in the ninth and scored the game-winning run in the top of the 12th inning to defeat the Monmouth University baseball team, 6-5, in its Northeast Conference series opener, Friday afternoon. Danny Avella (Matawan, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) and Jake Gronsky (Danville, Pa./Danville Area) each contributed three hits for the Blue and White, which falls to 30-18 (18-7 NEC) with the loss.
In the top of the ninth inning, Daniel St. George delivered a pinch-hit single for Bryant (29-18, 20-5 NEC) and moved to second on a passed ball. After a sacrifice bunt, Connor Carignan delivered a sacrifice fly to left, scoring St. George with the tying run. With Neil Harm (Hamilton, N.J./Steinert) on the hill in the 12th inning, Kevin Brown worked a lead-off walk and John Mullen followed with a game-winning RBI double to left center.
Bryant grabbed the early lead, sending eight batters to the plate in the top of the first inning. Mullen's spinning infield groundball kicked past Jon Guida (Martinsville, N.J./Bridgewater Raritan) and Mike Delponte was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to give Bryant an early 2-0 lead.
Gronsky singled up the middle and moved to third on back-to-back balks by Bryant's starter, Peter Kelich. With the infield drawn in, Avella deposited a 3-2 pitch over Mullen's head at third, plating MU's first run of the game.
The Bulldogs got the run back in the fourth inning on Jamie Skagerlind's sacrifice fly and Dave Soltis started the sixth with a home run to left to increase Bryant's lead to three, 4-1.
Jamie Rosenkranz (Oakhurst, N.J./Ocean Township) doubled to start off the home half of the sixth and advanced to third on Gronsky's single, out of the reach of a diving Adam Claire at second. Avella followed with a base hit to center, chasing in Rosenkranz, cutting the Bulldogs' lead to 4-2. Chris Perret's (Morris Plains, N.J./Morris Plains) groundball to third retired Gronsky and Josh Boyd (Port Murray, N.J./West Morris Central) reached on an error, scoring Avella that brought the Hawks within one. With Perret on third and Boyd on second after advancing on a relay throw, Kyle Perry (Toms River, N.J./Toms River South) delivered a two-run single to cap off a four-run inning giving the Blue and White a 5-4 lead.
Pat Light (Colts Neck, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) allowed three earned runs on six hits with six strikeouts in a no decision. Stephen Frey (Washingtonville, N.Y./Washingtonville) allowed one run on one hit with three punch-outs in 2.2 innings of strong middle relief, while Joe Loiodice (Forest Hills, Md./John Carroll) worked a one-hitter in 1.1 innings on the hill. Adam Yunginger (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Township) came in for Harm in the 12th to work a perfect frame.
Kelich, who also did not factor into a decision, allowed two earned runs on seven hits, with a pair of strikeouts in six innings of work. Salvatore Lisanti threw four scoreless innings en route to his second win of the year.
Monmouth and Bryant will continue its series tomorrow a 1 p.m. with a doubleheader.