The University of Rhode Island’s offense continued to pulverize opponents pitching, taking down state rival Bryant University 11-6 on Wednesday afternoon.
The Rams (10-11-1) kept the offensive gears in motion by exploding on sophomore starter Justin Snyder in the fourth inning. Senior Mike Sherburne ripped a one run double down the left field line scoring sophomore Mike Corin who kicked off the frame with a walk which was immediately followed by freshman Chris Hess’ single on a failed sacrifice bunt.
Snyder’s day would be done after the base hit, taking the loss and falling to 1-2 on the season, throwing just 3 and 1/3 innings allowing three earned runs. Junior Jimmy Davitt, who stayed on for just the remainder of the inning, would get pounded for three runs and four hits, including a double from freshman Jordan Powell which scored sophomore Matt O’Neil. When the smoke eventually cleared Rhode Island held a 6-0 lead.
For Rhode Island head coach Raphael Cerrato, the six-run outburst, much like the 18 runs scored against Northeastern and the eight runs scored against UMass-Lowell, is just the symptom of the future.
“I hope we become more consistent because there’s talent,” he said. “There’s enough talent to become a very good offensive team.”
Redshirt sophomore Blaise Whitman burned Bryant hitters in his midweek start, throwing 6 innings of three-hit, one-run baseball. He allowed just one walk and seven strikeouts, a career-high on the way to the win, improving his record to 3-1.
“I tried to work on a couple different pitches and master my off-speed a little more,” Whitman said.
“Coach made it a point that we’ve got to throw three different pitches, fastball, slider and change-up, all for strikes and if we could do that we could execute the game plan and be successful.”
Bryant, playing the role of in-state rival, was not content to let the Rams walk away from Smithfield without at least scaring those in Keaney blue.
The Bulldogs added a run to get on the board in the fifth inning and would add another in the seventh. With the score 11-2 in the bottom of the eighth, sophomore Taso Stathopoulos walked Bulldogs second baseman Cole Fabio. After a single from senior Jordan Mountford, senior John Mullen singled in Fabio to add a run.
Rams sophomore pitcher Matt Ferraiolo replaced Stathopoulos with the bases loaded and he immediately plunked junior A.J. Zarozny plating an additional run for the Bulldogs while the bases remained full. The Bulldogs would add two more runs in the frame, but a key strikeout of sophomore Brandon Bingel and groundout off the bat of senior Colin Walsh allowed Rhode Island to escape the inning without further damage.
The Rams were not so fortunate yesterday, falling to the Quinnipiac Bobcats 7-5 in a rain-shortened, 4 1/2 innings of play in Hamden, Connecticut, on Tuesday. A six-run Bobcat surge in the second put Rhode Island in the hole early 6- 1, a deficit which at which they would chip away in the form of a three-run fifth inning. Additional offense from the Bobcats, coupled with the rainy conditions, stymied the Rams’ comeback.
The Rams are back in action this weekend at Bill Beck Field where they will play Atlantic 10 rival St. Joseph’s in a three-game set. Friday’s matchup can be heard on 90.3 FM (WRIU) at 3 p.m., while the Saturday and Sunday games will be on RIU2 at 1 p.m. and noon, respectively.