For the second time in as many weekends, Rhode Island came within striking distance of a series victory, but just like the Rams trip to Maryland, a series win against Winthrop was not to be.
Rhode Island (2-7) dropped their Friday and Sunday contests to Winthrop (7-5), while salvaging the middle game on the backs of the offense.
Saturday’s victory was an unconventional one by the standards of a Tyler Wilson start. Wilson ran into trouble early, allowing six runs and six walks over just 2.1 innings on the mound. The sophomore southpaw would give way to a Rams bullpen that would allow just four hits the rest of the way.
With the score 6-1 Winthrop entering the top of the 4th, URI sprang to life. After a Derek Gardella single to knock in a run, senior Ryan Olmo came to the plate with the bases loaded later in the inning. Olmo made the most of the opportunity, depositing a Sam Kmiec pitch over the outfield fence to tie the game at six with the grand slam. Rhode Island would score at least a run in every inning but the 6th from there on out, securing the 11-7 win.
“It was a satisfying win, a real good team win. Especially picking up Tyler because he always picks us up; he’s so good,” head coach Raphael Cerrato said.
Sunday’s affair saw another Rams comeback, of sorts. Winthrop took an early 3-1 lead in the bottom of the first by stringing together a couple of base hits and a sacrifice fly off of Rams starter Ben Wessel. The deficit would grow to 7-2 until the Rhode Island eighth, when the Rams picked up three runs. Martin Figueroa reached on a key infield single in the inning to score Olmo from third, and a throwing error drove sophomore Chris Hess as Figueroa advanced to second. In the ninth, Rhode Island would grab two more via Olmo, who knocked in two runs on a single to right to tie the game at seven.
“That just shows we’re a tough team, that we’re going to be a tough team to beat. We’re always going to fight no matter what the score is, we’re always going to fight to win the ballgame,” Figueroa said. “We’re going to be able to do something special if we play our best.”
Anthony Paulsen would play the role of hero in the ninth for Winthrop, knocking a single back up the middle to score Kyle Edwards, and handing closer Tyler Barrs his first loss of the season.
In the opener, Rams starter Steve Moyers matched upwell against Matt Crohan, leaving the Rams down just 1-0 entering the sixth. Over the next 1.2 innings, Moyers was tagged for six runs, of which only five were earned. The Rams would grab a pair of two-run home runs, with Hess going yard in the seventh and Figueroa in the ninth, but it would be too much for the Rams to overcome as they fell 8-4.
Rhode Island travels to take on Indiana State beginning Friday at 3 p.m. for the start of a three-game set.