Shirley, N.Y.-The University of Bridgeport baseball team has forced a winner-take-all championship game with a conference crown and a trip to the 2016 NCAA Division II National Championship Tournament at 12 noon on Sunday with a 6-4 win over the second-seeded and East Coast Conference Tournament hosts, the Dowling College Golden Lions. The fourth-seeded Purple Knights, who advanced to the championship round with a wild, 14-12 victory over Molloy College earlier in the day, are now 27-21-1 on the season. DC is now 26-23.
After allowing Dowling to take a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning without an RBI hit, the Purple Knights took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth, when senior Alnaydo Rodriguez (Bronx, N.Y.) crushed a two-run home run, his ninth of the season and third in three games, and junior Justin Carey (Amherst, Mass.) plated an unearned run with an RBI double. Both Rodriguez and Carey had two hits in the game.
UB added a run to make the score 4-3 on an RBI two-bagger by sophomore Bobby Schryver (Ansonia, Conn.) in the bottom of the seventh.
Dowling would tie things up at 4-4 in the top of the eighth when catcher Michael Rizzitello, who had two hits in the game, hit a two-run home run.
Bridgeport regained the lead at 6-4, when the Purple Knights scored two runs on a throwing error by Rizzitello and a single by sophomore Daren Grabowski (Berlin, Conn.), who had a pair of hits on the day, that scored a run, and then UB held the Golden Lions scoreless in the top of ninth to set up Sunday's showdown.
Junior Anthony Alicki (Milford, Conn.), who picked up the win in relief over Molloy in Saturday's opening, turned in a truly gutty performance starting the Dowling game and working seven innings, in which he allowed six hits, four runs (three earned) with 13 strikeouts and two walks.
Classmate Dakota Edwards (Turlock, Calif.) picked up the win to send the Purple Knights to Sunday, working two scoreless and hitless innings with two strikeouts and no walks. Edwards is now 6-6 on the year.
Dowling starter John Parisi pitched well, going 6.2 innings, in which he allowed four runs (three earned) on nine hits with 10 K's and just one base on balls.
Andrew Sesto (1-3) took the loss in relief for the Golden Lions.
UB is playing in the ECC Baseball Championship Round for the fifth time in six seasons, and the Purple Knights are looking for the program's first-ever ECC title and trip to the NCAA Division II National Championship Tournament.