The University of Rhode Island baseball team (17-20 (8-4 A-10)) took care of business in their weekend series against conference opponent St. Bonaventure University at Bill Beck field. The Rams won Â 4-1 on Friday, 3-1 on Saturday and ended the weekend with a 6-3 victory on Sunday.
“This weekend was huge for us getting a sweep following a tough series with Fordham,” head coach Raphael Cerrato said. “We had some games that really dragged on against a really underrated team in the conference with one of the better pitching staffs. It was a battle of the pitchers and we just had enough to take the series.”
Friday’s game came down to the wire, but well-timed hitting in a late comeback along with another impressive pitching performance by Tyler Wilson (7-1) was key in the Rams victory. Rhode Island trailed St. Bonaventure 1-0 in the bottom half of the seventh inning when freshman Brett McManus tied the game with an RBI triple, bringing in redshirt freshman Laurence Hill. McManus would cross the plate himself Rhode Island after a sac fly off the bat of senior Chase Livingston gave them the 2-1 lead.
Tyler Wilson took the mound and was untouchable in the right inning, striking out three consecutive Bonnies. The Rhode Island offense gave Wilson some breathing room in the bottom of the eighth inning by scoring another two runs to extend the lead to the eventual final score of 4-1. Wilson pitched a total of nine innings allowing one unearned run, one hit, and striking out eight.
Pitching played a significant role all weekend for the Rams. Game two it was senior pitcher Steve Moyers (3-5) who took the mound for nine innings of work in the 3-1 victory for Rhode Island on Saturday. In his complete game, Moyers allowed three hits, one unearned run, and struck out seven batters for a tremendous follow up performance to Wilson, and one that the Rams really needed to generate some momentum with the Atlantic 10 championships less than a month away.
On the offensive side, URI got out to an early lead in the bottom of the first inning when junior Martin Figueroa ripped a double down the left field line, and then scored the first run of the day when senior Ryan Olmo sent him home with a two-out single.
The game was tied at 1-1 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning when Figueroa took back the lead for the Rams with an RBI single that scored sophomore Mike Foley. Olmo added to the lead with an RBI groundout that brought in redshirt sophomore Chris Hess to score the final run of the game.
The Rams would finish off their weekend series with a see-saw-like game that ended in their favor.
In the bottom end of the second inning, Rhode Island jumped out to a 2-0 lead when Foley doubled to in Livingston and Hess. St. Bonaventure would score one run in the top half of the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings to take a 3-2 lead before Rhode Island’s bats reawakened from its slumber.
The bottom of the seventh inning saw the Rams take advantage of a St. Bonnies error in left field allowing two runners to score off of a Figueroa fly ball. Figueroa then scored himself off of a double by sophomore Jordan Powell, with URI regaining control, 5-3.
The Rams would score one last run in the bottom half of the eighth inning when McManus scored on a passed ball for a little more insurance. The game would end at 6-3 to secure the Rams their first series sweep of the season.
Redshirt junior Ben Wessel (3-3) picked up the win for his seven-inning outing in which he allowed two earned runs on eight hits. Â
“Our pitchers have been outstanding for us especially at this point in the season,” Cerrato said. “Wilson has been great all year and he showed that on Friday while Moyers and Wessel have really been throwing well lately.”
After splitting a two games series at the University of Maine, Rhode Island visits St. Joseph’s University this upcoming weekend for a three game series in a top- heavy A-10 conference.
“After this weekend we were in a six-team tie for first, I’ve never seen anything like it, but this weekend really put us in a good position to possibly win the conference if we take care of business the rest of the year,” Cerrato said.