The University of Rhode Island baseball team lost their first two Atlantic 10 Conference games of the season on the road against Saint Louis University, 8-3 and 12-4, before ending the weekend with a 9-6 win.
On the positive side of Rhode Island’s first two conference losses was the play from freshman center fielder Jordan Powell. Powell batted 6-for-10 at the plate in total with the majority of his impact being in the Rams 9-6 win. He was named the Atlantic 10 Freshman of the Week for his efforts.
Powell notched one single in Friday’s loss, two singles in Saturday’s loss and went 3-for-4 for three RBI and a stolen base to help seal the lone victory. He did this all while keeping his fielding percentage perfect.
“The recognition means a lot, honestly,” Powell said. “It shows the hard work that I put in during the fall has been paying off, and that what my coaches and teammates are telling me is working. My teammates and coaches are always sharing pointers prior to at-bats, most of my success is attributed from their help.”
Rhode Island head coach Raphael Cerrato believes the ceiling is high for his productive freshman outfielder and Kingwood, Texas, native.
“It’s great the recognition is positive for the kids, although what’s most important is always how the team does,” Cerrato said “Jordan’s an outstanding kid. Defensively he’s been very good, and when his time is over with the way he’s progressing, Jordan might be one of the best center fielder’s we have ever had in the program.”
Freshman left handed pitcher Tyler Wilson (2-0) was given the win Sunday pitching seven innings allowing only one earned run, and three hits while striking out three.
“Getting the victory on Sunday was a huge win for us,” Cerrato said. “To go 1-2 in a series opposed to 0-3 early in the season is extremely vital to come out with at least one victory. Tyler Wilson pitched a good game for us and we hit the ball consistently to earn the win.”
Rhode Island (5-8, 1-2 Atlantic-10) started off with 3-0 leads during the top of the first inning in each loss. On Friday Rhode Island gave up eight unanswered runs after holding the early advantage. Junior right-handed pitcher Steve Moyers (0-3) was handed the loss in five innings pitched, giving up four earned runs with two strikeouts.
In Saturday’s game junior, Lou Distasio (1-3) was handed the loss after holding a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the second inning. In three innings pitched, Distasio allowed nine hits, and two earned runs while striking out two batters.
“Our top two pitchers did not pitch up to what we expect Friday and Saturday,” Cerrato said. “Offensively we did not make the most of our opportunities to put the game away especially having three run leads in each first inning.”
Rhode Island looks forward to improve its record with a four-game series this weekend at Bill Beck Field when they host Sacred Heart University on March 28 and 29 in dual doubleheaders at noon and 3 p.m. The games can be heard on www.riu2.org.
“Sacred Heart has struggled this season, but they are a team who has won their league in recent history,” Cerrato said. “We need some of our pitchers to bounce back, and we need to improve, but I expect to see a successful series on our home turf. The most important thing for us is to have games under our belt.”