TAMPA, Fla. – The University of Bridgeport rallied from a 4-2 deficit with three runs in the seventh and two more in the eighth to upend Bentley University for the second straight day, 7-4, in non-conference college baseball Friday morning at the University of Tampa.
The Purple Knights, 2-5 overall, pounded out 15 hits, including three apiece from senior shortstop John Ascenzia (West Haven, Conn.) and sophomore third baseman Casey McCone (Milford, Conn.), while Bentley finished with four. Senior center fielder Mike Muir (Bridgewater, Mass./Xaverian Bros. HS) led the Falcon offense with two hits and two RBI,
After Bridgeport vaulted out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, Bentley turned the game around in the fifth when it scored all four of its runs.
One out into the inning, sophomore first baseman Justin Ashworth (Orange, Conn./Amity Regional HS) reached on an error and classmate Burton Deady (Andover, Mass./Andover HS) followed with a bunt single. An infield single by junior catcher Bryan Rocha (Rehoboth, Mass./Dighton-Rehoboth HS) brought Ashworth in from third with Bentley's first run, and one out later, Muir made it a 3-2 game with a two-run double to right. Three pitches later, senior right fielder Tom Nagy (Fairfield, Conn./ Ludlowe HS) plated Muir with another two-bagger to right.
A Bentley error set the table for the Purple Knights in the seventh and Bridgeport was able to capitalize. Ascenzia had an RBI single to center, senior catcher Tim Bickford (Wallingford, Conn.) tied the game with a sacrifice fly and McCone gave his team the lead with his single to left scoring Ascenzia.
Bridgeport extended its lead in the eighth with RBI singles by freshman DH Jose Negron (New Haven, Conn.) and sophomore second baseman Dylan Steigerwald (Holbrook, N.Y.).
Bentley threatened in the ninth with a walk, a hit batter and a fielder's choice that didn't result in an out loading the bases with one out. However, freshman lefty PJ Martino (Medford, N.Y.) closed out the victory by getting the Falcons' number three and four hitters, Muir and Nagy, with a fly ball to center and a pop-up to short.
Bentley's nine hits included two apiece by Muir, Rocha, Nagy and Deady with all four having both a single and a double.
Senior right-hander Connor Root (Nashua, N.H./Nashua HS North) started for Bentley and struck out seven in his five innings of work. Martino saved the game for sophomore rightyRay Kreiger (Derby, Conn.) with a pair of scoreless innings.
Bentley will close out the three-game series and the Florida portion of the schedule Saturday with a 2 pm game against Bridgeport at Tampa.