SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Redshirt junior Garrison Banas tossed 3.2 scoreless innings of relief to pick up his first-career win as the Bryant University baseball team came from behind to defeat Monmouth, 8-5, on Saturday afternoon at the USA Baseball Complex in Cary, N.C.
The Bulldogs are 2-0 to start a season for just the second time in Division I history and the first time since 2012. Bryant also started that season in Cary. The Hawks fell to 1-1 with the loss.
Both teams scored early and often in Saturday’s first game, plating seven runs combined in the first two innings. Monmouth was first on the board as Dan Shea and Cary Jacobson delivered back-to-back two-out RBI singles.
Bryant responded with three runs in the bottom of the first inning on three hits and a costly Monmouth error. Senior Robby Rinn (Warwick, R.I.) singled with two outs and classmate Buck McCarthy (Saugus, Mass.) reached on an error by the third baseman to put two runners on. Junior Brandon Bingel (Peabody, Mass.) then singled to center and the ball was misplayed, allowing both runners to score and sending Bingel all the way to third. Senior Zach Wood (Griswold, Conn.) made it 3-2 with a two-out RBI single two batters later.
The Hawks quickly answered with two more runs in the top of the second to regain the lead. Christian Holland singled and Ryan Bailey doubled to open the inning and Grant Lamberton connected on a two-run single two batters later to make it 4-3. Freshman Nick Angelini (Nashua, N.H.) ended any further threat as he snared a line drive in right field and fired to second to nab Lamberton trying to tag.
Monmouth would add to its lead with a single run in the fourth but the Black and Gold responded with three runs in the fifth and two more in the seventh to grab the lead for good. Juniors Cole Fabio (Mahwah, N.J.) and Matt Albanese (East Haddam, Conn.) reached to start the inning and Rinn followed with an RBI single to make it a one-run game. A wild pitch advanced both runners and Bingel tied the score with a ground out to short. Senior AJ Zarozny (Shrewsbury, Mass.) gave Bryant the lead back with another two-out single to left field.
In the seventh, a McCarthy walk was followed by a Bingel double and a Zarozny walk to load the bases. Wood then delivered a sac fly to right field to score McCarthy. Bingel also scored on the play as the relay throw to third was errant, giving Bryant an 8-5 lead.
All the while, Banas was pitching wonderfully out of the bullpen in his first career appearance for the Black and Gold. He entered with two outs in fourth and went on to toss 3.2 scoreless innings of relief. He allowed just four hits, walked a batter and did not post a strikeout. Fellow redshirt junior Oliver Powers (Newtown, Conn.) then came on with runners on second and third and one out in the eighth inning. Making his first appearance as a Bulldog, Powers induced a pop up to short and a ground ball to third to end the threat. Sophomore Logan Lessard (Cromwell, Conn.) closed the door with a perfect ninth inning to earn his first save of the year.
Senior James Davitt (Wallingford, Conn.) started for the Bulldogs and allowed five runs on seven hits over 3.2 innings. He walked one and struck out three. Albanese, Rinn and Bingel all finished with two hits, while Rinn, McCarthy and Bingel all scored two runs. Wood drove in two runs for the second-straight game.
Anthony Ciavarella started for Monmouth and took a no decision, allowing six runs (three earned) on eight hits over 4.2 innings. He walked one and struck out three. Tyler Ksiazek took the loss, allowing two unearned runs on one hit over 1.2 innings of relief. Lamberton led the Monmouth offense with four hits and three runs scored.