George Washington, Bryant overpower baseball in high-scoring slate

The University of Rhode Island baseball team lost a high scoring, back-and-forth series against George Washington University over the weekend, then went on to split their midweek games against Bryant University on Tuesday and Stonehill College on Wednesday.

George Washington came with an offensive barrage right away in Washington, D.C. on Friday. They scored six runs in the first inning, aided by a base-clearing three-run double by fifth-year McGwire Tuffy, and added three more runs across the second and third innings to take a 9-2 lead.

Rhode Island continued to chip away at the lead, cutting the deficit down to 10-6 in the fifth inning, however this would turn out to be the closest they got. Fifth-year Jarrett Korson pitched five scoreless innings out of the George Washington bullpen, wrapping up a 11-6 game one victory.

The Rams displayed their power early in game two with second-year Connor Grotyohann hitting a two-run home run in the second inning to give them a 2-1 lead. After GW came back to tie it with two runs of their own the next half inning, fifth-year DJ Perron also went deep to retake a 4-3 lead for Rhode Island.

URI relinquished their lead once again in the third and this is when second-year pitcher Jeremy Urena would come in to provide the shutdown innings that were needed. Urena didn’t allow a run in the first 4.2 innings that he pitched, allowing for an offensive explosion to put the game away. With the game tied at five heading to the eighth, the Rams broke through for nine runs across the final two innings on their way to a 14-6 win to even up the series.

The Rams were outhit 14-11 by George Washington, but the story of this one was the patience of the Rhode Island hitters. They took 14 walks throughout the game with half of those free passes coming in the final two innings.

“We’ve become a lot more selective over the last few weeks,” URI Head Coach Raphael Cerrato said. “You can see the results of a lot of walks, a lot of baserunners, which should lead to runs.”

After a combined 37 runs throughout the first two games, the teams were set for the rubber game on Sunday afternoon. Grotyohann got things started for URI for the second straight day with a home run in the second inning to give them a 2-1 lead.

“It helped to get consistent at bats because I had been hitting during the week,” Grotyohann said. “I just felt more relaxed than I had in games before.”

As was the trend throughout the series, George Washington came right back and took their first lead of the game with three runs in the fifth inning. The Revolutionaries added on to their lead when fifth-year Brett Young hit a two-run triple in the sixth, giving the hosts a pair of insurance runs.

“We need to get more innings from our starting pitchers,” Cerrato said. “We’ve had our share of injuries on the mound, some really important guys have gone down, but guys have to step up.”

Rhode Island got the go-ahead run to the plate as they loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth, but fourth-year pitcher Benny Wilson slammed the door to secure a 7-4 win for GW and the series win.

Rhode Island returned home on Tuesday afternoon to take on Bryant, looking to avenge their 8-7 loss to them a week prior. Following a strong weekend at the plate, Grotyohann started the game on the mound and went three scoreless innings, striking out six batters.

“Growing up, my biggest thing was always how can I help a team,” Grotyohann said. “Being able to do both [hitting and pitching] has been a challenge, but I think it really helps our team.”

The Rams jumped out to a 3-0 lead before even recording an out on Tuesday, led by a two-run double from Perron. Rhode Island extended their lead to 6-0 after two innings, but the Bulldogs wouldn’t go away as they tied the game with a six spot in the fourth inning. Fourth-year infielder Carmine Petosa had the big blow in this one with a three-run home run in the eighth that gave Bryant a 13-9 lead, which would end up being the final score.

On Wednesday, Rhode Island went back on the road to take on Stonehill and wasted no time, putting together another big first inning with three runs crossing the plate. The bats stayed relentless as the Rams scored at least one run in each of the first seven innings. Third-year pitcher Brandon Hsu gave URI six quality innings, allowing two earned runs, and Perron led the charge at the plate with a home run and four runs batted in on their way to a 13-4 victory.

Looking ahead to the weekend, the Rams will continue conference play against Fordham University.

“We need to be ready for the weekend,” Cerrato said. “It’s all about conference play right now and we need to win some series so we have an opportunity to get to the postseason.”

URI has yet to drop a home conference series this year and will look to continue that at Bill Beck Field this weekend. The series against Fordham will begin at 3 p.m. on Friday and all three games can be streamed on ESPN+, with Saturday’s contest also available over the radio on WRIU 90.3.