For the first time in 2016, and the second in Raphael Cerrato’s career at the helm of the Rams baseball program, URI lost a weekend conference series.
The Rhode Island Rams (13-17, 5-4) took the series opener 3-1, but faltered 8-0 and 4-2 in the next two contests at conference rival Fordham (19-18, 6-3).
Friday’s victory was spearheaded by A-10 co-pitcher of the week, sophomore Tyler Wilson. Wilson dominated Fordham hitting, as he threw a complete game allowing just one unearned run on four hits. Wilson displayed his best control of the season, walking no batters on his way to striking out 10 en route to earning his sixth win of the year (6-1).
The game remained a scoreless stalemate until the sixth, when junior Martin Figueroa homered to center off of Fordham starter Kirk Haynes Jr. The Rams tacked on two more runs in the eighth when Figueroa grounded out to push in redshirt freshman Laurence Hill. Sophomore Jordan Powell scorched a double down the right field line, scoring redshirt sophomore Chris Hess.
For Rhode Island on Saturday, it was a day the Rams would rather forget. A throwing error in the second gave Fordham an early 1-0 lead they would never relinquish.
In the sixth, Fordham struck hard as Ryan McNally opened the frame with a solo home run to left. Mark Donadio doubled, which scored Luke Stampfl and then Donadio came around on a sacrifice bunt. A sac fly would drive in the final run of the inning for the Bronx Rams, making the ballgame 5-0 and taking URI starter senior Steve Moyers out of the game.
Moyers fell to just 2-5 after Saturday’s loss, giving up five runs, four earned on nine hits and a walk, with four strikeouts.
Fordham picked up three insurance runs in the eighth to put away URI on the back of a tremendous start by Fordham’s Greg Weissert, who shutout URI over his eight innings pitched.
In the rubber match, redshirt junior Ben Wessel pitched well for URI, but as has been the case for much of the season, his defense let him down. Wessell went seven innings, allowing just two earned runs on four hits and two walks.
URI led after the top of the first after Powell grounded out to drive in Figueroa. Fordham picked up two runs quickly in the bottom of the inning to take the lead 2-1. Figueroa would, however, make an error at third base in the second inning, setting the stage for two unearned Fordham runs to cross.
Rhode Island would grab one back in the ninth but it would be too little too late as URI fell to the other Rams.
The last time URI lost a conference series it was March 20-22, 2015 on the road at St. Louis, the eventual regular season champion.
Rhode Island returns to action for a rare Thursday game against Quinnipiac, which will serve as a primer for the weekend series with St. Bonaventure.