The University of Rhode Island softball battled Saint Louis University this weekend in a three-game series, but would eventually add as many losses to 1-23 overall record.
The Rams dropped the three games by scores of 14-2, 9-8 and 8-3. Rhode Island has lost their first eight conference games of the season with half of them lasting more than five innings.
The first game of the series was a 14-2 beating that ended after five innings. Saint Louis opened strong, creating a four-run deficit in the first inning and opening the consecutive innings with home runs. In the bottom of the third, the Rams were able to respond with two runs of their own but this would be their only score of the game. Saint Louis secured eight runs in the top of the fourth. Five different Billikens registered at least two RBI.
The start of the second game was a significant improvement for the Rams. In the first three innings they held Saint Louis to only two runs. They would extend this by a further seven by the bottom of the fifth inning and the game looked to be all too familiar to the previous. But, in the bottom of the fifth, URI executed an impressive rally scoring seven runs, for their most in an inning this season.
With the Rams down 9-3 and sophomore Marylynn Muldowney’s walk reloading the bases, senior Ashley Olson pulled her team within three with a bases-clearing double. Junior Lauren Klepchick’s single soon after made it a one-run game.
“You could see the momentum shift and I think it’s going to give us a lot of confidence,” Olson, who is on a four-game hitting streak with five RBI, said. “We made the adjustments at the plate, we were communicating with each other, when I would come back from my at bat I would tell the next person what I saw and everyone was doing that so I think the biggest thing today for us was our communication was the best that it’s been so far.”
Afterwards, Saint Louis were unable to respond and the Rams gained one more run but it was just short of taking their second victory of the season and the game ended 9-8 in favor of the Billikens.
After an unprecedented 14 hits displayed by the Rams in the previous game, the final matchup was highly anticipated. Saint Louis repeated their start of the first game, opening with four unanswered runs in the first inning and it was a start from which URI would be unable to recover. Saint Louis continued to build on this lead and the Rams could respond with only three runs. The Billikens tacked on four more runs before the end of the day to close out the sweep with an 8-3 win.
“When more than half of your lineup is new to us we have to go through and learn their strengths and weaknesses,” Rhode Island head coach Erin Layton said.”We can hit their pitching. It was nice to see all three of them and I think that our pitchers are learning the importance of wasting when they have an 0-2 [or] 1-2 count, that’s very important to us. Defensively, I’m still impressed with what we’re doing…they’re playing above average defense.”
The softball team next play Layton’s alma mater, the University of Connecticut, at the URI Softball Complex today at 4 p.m.