Baseball was able to steal a game down in Florida as they took on Mizzou last week. Photo by Autumn Walter.

The University of Rhode Island baseball team traveled to Houston to play Rice and last weekend they competed in Florida, where they battled Mizzou. After enjoying a classic New England winter, being able to spend the weekends in weather above 60 degrees sounds pretty good; especially when playing baseball.

The Rams are 2-4 after after playing two strong opponents and Coach Raphael Cerrato sees this is a strong start to the season.

“Those are two of the toughest teams we’re going to face all year,” said Cerrata. “Starting with this schedule definitely helps prepare us for the Atlantic 10.”

URI opened up their season with a 2-1 come-from-behind victory at Rice University. The Rams trailed 1-0 in the top of the ninth inning when Jackson Coutts led off with a single and was lifted for pinch runner, Max Mircovich. With one out, Catcher Sonny Ulliana ripped a double into the left field corner, and Mircovich came all the way around to knot the score.

URI defense then came up big, as Rice had a chance to win the bottom half of the inning. They got a one-out single from Antonio Cruz, then Cade Edwards lined a two-out double to the gap in right center, but the relay from Austin White to Joe Fortin to Ulliana got Cruz at the plate to prevent the winning run.

Rhody took its first lead of the game in the top of the 10th, when Kevin Heiss reached on a single, advanced to second, then scored on a throwing error by the second baseman.

An exciting opening day for the Ram, and game two was just as good.

Rhode Island once again rallied late and took Rice to extra innings, however, the Rams were unable to pull off their second-straight comeback win. Rhody took a 6-5 lead in the top of the 13th, but the Owls plated two runs in the bottom of the frame to even the series with a 7-6 victory.

Rice ran away with the third and final game of the series, with a score of 15-3.

The Rams baseball team traveled to Fort Myers last weekend to face-off against the University of Missouri.

In the first game of the series, Rhode Island once again rallied back from a deficit in the final innings, this time using a four-run eighth inning to pull ahead of Missouri in an 8-6 win. Sam Ilario delivered what proved to be a game-winning homer in the eighth, capping a two-out rally with a three-run shot over the left field wall. Cam LaFleur worked his way out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the bottom of the ninth, getting a game-ending double play to secure another comeback victory.

“That was a good win for us, beating Mizzou, an SEC program,” Cerrato said. “The bullpen did great and we played really well.”

The Rams battled in game two; trailing 5-0 through five innings, Rhode Island cut into the Mizzou lead in the top of the sixth, taking advantage of a base hit, five walks and a hit batsman.

The inning started with Max Mircovich driving in the first run for the Rams, singling to left with two away to plate Laurence Hill. The Tigers bullpen then began to struggle, as their reliever issued a four-pitch walk to Josh Brodeur to load the bases, drilled Sam Ilario with a first pitch and then walked Jackson Coutts on four consecutive pitches. Ilario’s hit-by-pitch pushed across Greg Cavaliere, who was walked earlier in the inning, while the Coutts walk allowed Mircovich to score and make it a 5-3 game.

That was as close as it would get, as Mizzou scored two runs in the sixth, and then added five in the eighth. The Ram lost 12-4.

The Rams dropped the series finale to Missouri, falling 7-0 Sunday afternoon at City of Palms Park. Rhody and Mizzou matched one another with eight hits apiece, but the Tigers benefitted from six walks and four Rhode Island errors.

Mizzou, 4-4 on the season, did all of its scoring in the third, fourth and fifth innings. That was all the offense they needed, as URI struggled with their bats. Rhody stranded two runners in the second, third and seventh innings, and left the bases loaded in the sixth.

“It was kind of a frustrating weekend,” Cerrato said. “There’s some positives, but I think the guys have got to be better. I don’t think we played that great on defense and our starting pitchers need to give us more innings. There needs to be more consistency on offense and we got to be better with two strikes. I expect us to get better at that as the season moves forward.”

Coach Cerrato finished with saying, “The team chemistry looks great after the first six games. It’s a tight group and we’ve shown a lot of heart with our comebacks.”

URI travels to the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley for next weekend. The four-game series against the Vaqueros opens Friday at 8 p.m.