Autumn Walter | CIGAR | Rams win three games in last weekend’s series as Tyler Wilson breaks the strike out records with 256.
Tyler Wilson set a program record in strikeouts this weekend vs. St. Joseph’s as the Rams continued to win, coming out victorious in each of their last eight games.
Wilson, the redshirt junior, took the bump Saturday afternoon against St. Joe’s University for his 41st start in a Rhode Island uniform. Going into the game, he had 251 career strikeouts, five away from setting the program record of 256.
“I don’t really think about that when I’m throwing,” Wilson said after the game. “I figured if I just went out and pitched my game it would come.”
And come it did. In the top of the fourth inning, Wilson got St. Joe’s center fielder Brendan Hueth to strike out swinging for his 256th career strikeout. There was no pause in action, just a loud ovation from Rhode Island fans and teammates before the next player stepped in.
On the day, Wilson threw 6.1 innings, allowing one run on two hits with eight strikeouts. The Rams won 2-1 to secure their sixth straight victory after Tyler Barrs and Nick Johnson were lights out the rest of the way.
The Rams came into the weekend against St. Joe’s after sweeping a doubleheader at University of Massachusetts the previous weekend and winning both midweek games against Boston College and Hartford. They proceeded to sweep the Hawks, with a 2-1 win Friday and a 7-3 victory on Sunday.
“We win a few games in a row, you can just see the difference,” Coach Ralph Cerrato said. “The confidence level in the dugout is much better. We get down by a run and we feel like, ‘It’s okay, we can get a couple runs.’”
In the series, the Rams were the beneficiaries of excellent starting pitching. The weekend starters, Matt Murphy, Taso Stathopolous, and Wilson combined for 19.1 innings pitched, 21 strikeouts, and two earned runs.
Rhode Island was slated for two midweek matchups, hosting Bryant University Tuesday afternoon and traveling to the University of Connecticut on Wednesday. The Rams were victorious again on Tuesday, taking down the Bulldogs by a score of 8-6. Xavier Vargas notched a three-RBI double in the second, accounting for a bulk of the production. Kevin Heiss, Jackson Coutts and Laurence Hill also had one RBI on the day.
It was the offense that carried them to this one, as they scored seven runs in the first two innings. Starter Jake Walker allowed five runs, four of them earned, in the third inning before recording an out. The bullpen finished the game strong, throwing seven complete innings while only allowing one run. Mark Silvestri was credited the win, and he was relieved by Cam Lafleur, Matt Murphy, and eventually Nick Johnson who recorded his sixth save of the season.
Wednesday’s game in Connecticut was postponed due to weather. The Rams have the next seven days off as they look to extend their win streak when they host La Salle for a weekend series, starting Friday afternoon at 3 p.m.
With less than a dozen games left before the Atlantic 10 Tournament, coach Cerrato is hoping his team has finally hit their stride.
“That’s what you hope for,” Cerrato said. “Win a few games in a row, just take a deep breath and relax. You can start seeing us play URI type of baseball.”