The University of Rhode Island baseball team was swept by the Jacksonville University Dolphins in a three game series in Florida this past weekend.
The Rams struggled to hit with runners on base leaving 30 total runners aboard over the course of the three game set.
In the Friday night opener against the Dolphins, the Rams were blanked 6-0, as Rams starter Tyler Wilson took his second loss of the year. Wilson pitched five innings allowing seven hits and four runs, two of them being earned. Wilson also struck out four.
The Rhody offense had no shortage of hits, getting seven, but the offense stranded eight base runners, five of which came in scoring position. Freshman first baseman Xavier Vargas was a bright spot for the Rams, going two-for-four with a double and triple. Jacksonville starting pitcher Chris Gau was nothing short of fantastic, going a full seven innings allowing six hits and striking out seven.
In game two on Saturday night the Rams again struggled to capitalize with runners on, stranding 13 base runners in the 3-1 loss. The Rams offense had two bases loaded opportunities in this game, in the third and eighth innings. Both of these situations came with one out in the inning and both times Rhody was unable to capitalize. “You don’t wanna make a big deal,” Rams head coach Raphael Cerrato said. “You go through cycles. You just wanna keep the same approach.”
Rhody did draw first blood in Saturday’s game, taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Jordan Powell scored on a fielder’s choice. Senior pitcher Matt Murphy recorded his first loss of the season. Murphy went 4 ⅓ innings pitched, allowing all three Jacksonville runs. Murphy also walked and struck out four batters a piece. Out of the bullpen Taso Stathopoulos, Jake Walker and Nick Robinson were able to throw a combined scoreless 3 ⅔ innings. The Jacksonville pitching staff was able to throw 12 combined strikeouts against the Rams hitters.
In the Sunday matinee finale the Rams again failed to take advantage of runners on base, this time leaving nine men stranded in their 2-1 loss. The Rams were able to draw first blood again against the Dolphins taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the third thanks to a Kevin Heiss bunt that was able to get Laurence Hill across the plate.
The Dolphins were able to tie the game up in the bottom of the third, the game would stay tied until the Dolphins were able to take the 2-1 lead in the bottom of the seventh. Reliever Nick Johnson took the loss for the Rams, his first of the year. Johnson replaced starter Vitaly Jangols after Jangols was able to pitch four innings, allowing only one run. Johnson went 2 ⅓ innings out of the bullpen allowing two hits, one run, and striking out 3.
An eighth inning base hit for Powell was able to extend his reached base streak to 47 consecutive games. Powell has also had at least one hit in 22 of his last 23 games played. “Jordan’s been good his entire career,” Cerrato said. “He’s experienced, he’s a professional hitter.”
The Rams now head to Gainesville, Florida for a three-game series against the No.1 Florida Gators.