Whether by the stick or by superior starting pitching, the University of Rhode Island baseball team broke out the brooms at Bill Beck Field this weekend.
The Rams (13â€13â€1, 6â€3) rolled past the St. Joseph’s University Hawks (10â€17, 3â€5) on their home turf, propelling the program to its first .500-plus record since 2013. Rhode Island soon fell back to .500 with its 5-2 defeat at Boston College on Tuesday. Their tilt with the Eagles was the first meeting between the clubs since former Rams head coach Jim Foster departed to become the top assistant for BC.
Junior left-hander Steve Moyers (1-3) took the hill Friday and grabbed the win, his first of the season. Moyers went 5 and 1/3 allowing six hits and four runs (two earned) while striking out seven. The Hawks drew first blood in the opening inning on an RBI single from freshman Matt Maul, which scored freshman designated hitter Deon Stafford.
The Rams would tie it up in the bottom of the frame and add another in the second, but would do a majority of the game’s offensive damage in the fifth. With two men on, sophomore Martin Taveras launched a three-run blast far beyond the right field fence, the exclamation point which put the Rams on top 8â€1. Rhode Island would not relinquish the lead despite two fog delays and the game’s suspension into Saturday.
“I got a hold of one, and it went a long ways,” Taveras said of the three-run shot. “We’re just doing our thing out there.”
The conclusion of Game one immediately led into Game two of the series Saturday afternoon, a matchup which found the beat of an entirely new drum.
Freshman starter Tyler Wilson (4-0) dominated St. Joseph’s hitters, throwing a complete game, good for his first in collegiate play and his fourth win to stay perfect on the season. Wilson allowed just six hits and one run through his nine innings of work, alongside three walks and six strikeouts.
The three-time Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week outdueled Pat Vanderslice, as the sophomore fell to 3â€4. Vanderslice only allowed two runs through 5 and 2/3 innings.
Taveras would find himself intertwined in Rams’ runs yet again, crossing the plate in the fifth on a single by junior Chase Livingston and scoring in the sixth on a bases-loaded walk.
Junior right-hander Lou Distasio (3-4) was by no means content to let the party pass him by in Game three.
The Sunday starter allowed a double facing his first batter of the game, and that would be the entirety of the Hawks’ offensive output while Distasio was on the hill. In getting the win, he threw six innings of one-hit baseball, walking one and striking out five.
The Rams offense would instantaneously give Distasio support. In the home half of the first, redshirt sophomore and Atlantic 10 Co-Player of the Week Mike Corin tripled in junior Ryan Olmo and redshirt freshman Chris Hess singled in Corin. Rhode Island led 6-1 through five innings, chasing St. Joseph’s starting pitcher Joe Manion from the game, delivering the junior his second loss of the season.
The Hawks would get runs in the seventh and eighth innings, which paved the way for junior Brad Applin to enter the game and pick up his first save of the season.
To Rhode Island head coach Raphael Cerrato, the explosion of his team’s offense is due to the consistency of being on the baseball diamond, which the team could not experience in the early months of the season because of the poor elements.
“Now that we’re out there four or five games a week, our hitters are really starting to get into a rhythm,” he said. “It’s really 12 or 13 guys on our team that I want to put in the lineup everyday so it’s competition, they’re swinging the bat. It’s a good problem to have.”
Redshirt sophomore Blaise Whitman (3-2) took the loss against the Eagles, going only three innings while surrendering three runs on six hits. Redshirt sophomore Ben Wessel, junior Derek Kawlewski and Applin combined for six relief innings of one-hit, two-run pitching to keep URI within reach of Boston College.
URI’s offense could never establish consistency, though, as they left 11 runners on base to BC’s five. URI redshirt sophomore third baseman Matt O’Neil drove in the only Rams’ runs on the day.
The Rams will face Atlantic 10-leading Richmond for a three-game set beginning Friday in Virginia. Â