You could say Bryant University’s bark was just as bad as their bite Wednesday afternoon.
Trailing 6-3 in the ninth inning, University of Rhode Island head coach Raphael Cerrato was ejected for arguing a check swing strike three that put away sophomore Jordan Powell.
“I didn’t like how the umpire was dealing with the situation,” Cerrato said, highlighting his difference of opinion on whether Powell went around.
“It’s a kick in our behind, it gets us fired up in such a tight spot,” senior outfielder Ryan Olmo said. “It really pushed us to go out there and try and get that W.”
URI responded to the ejection when freshman Sam Illario scored on an infield error and redshirt freshman Laurence Hill.
Unfortunately for the Rams, 6-5 would be as close as they would come in their comeback attempt. Despite Rhode Island having their last three games cancelled and Bryant having their last two postponed, Wednesday afternoon’s affair got off to a hot start.
The Rams jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the first on a junior Martin Figueroa sacrifice fly, which scored sophomore Chris Hess from third to give the Rams an early lead. URI struck again in the third when Figueroa singled up the middle, scoring Olmo to double Rhode Island’s lead.
Bryant would respond in the top of the fifth, chasing Rams starter redshirt junior Blaise Whitman from the ballgame after 4 and 2/3rds. With the bases loaded and two men away, senior Brad Applin relieved the beleaguered Whitman to face Robby Rinn. A wild pitch from Applin scored Buck McCarthy from third, which Rinn followed up with scorching a two RBI triple down the left field line to score Matt Albanese and Dan Cellucci.
In the seventh, Brandon Bingel would add to the Bulldogs momentum when he doubled in Rinn and Albanese pushing Bryant to a 5-2 advantage.
Rhode Island took one back in the eight when senior Chase Livingston singled in Hess to make the score 5-3. Rinn’s day was not over, however. The corner infielder drove home Albanese on a sacrifice fly to left field in the top of the ninth. Rinn, heavily involved in the Bryant offense entered the game leading Bryant in many statistical categories including batting average (.400), hits (36), doubles (10) and RBI’s (23).
Bryant worked a number of pitchers into the ballgame, sending out starter Jimmy Davitt for just the first and including a total of six pitchers. The Rams would not be able to manufacture much of anything against Bulldog pitching, collecting just nine base hits, for which all were singles.
“They got the big hits and we didn’t,” Olmo said. “When they needed to get the big knock they got it, and for us we just pressed a little bit.”
URI has failed to collect an extra base hit in their last two games, with their last one coming back on March 29 against Central Connecticut State.
The Rams resume play in a three-game monumental series against defending Atlantic 10 Champion Virginia Commonwealth University, set to begin Friday at 3 p.m.
“It’s a big series, we’re excited to get back and play them,” Cerrato said. “They ended our season last year. They’ll be good and we’ll be ready to. We’ve been looking forward to this really since last season.”