Rhode Island Lineup
Powell (CF), Heiss (SS), Coutts (DH), McManus (2B), Vargas (1B), Cavaliere (LF), Ulliana (C), White (RF), Hill (3B), Murphy (P)
Saint Joseph's Lineup
Maul (SS), Hueth (CF), Colcannon (RF), McConnon (C), Stetzar (DH), Giacalone (3B), Markoski (1B), Namey (LF), Cuppari (2B), Kennedy (P)
How it Happened
Despite being no-hit through six and a third innings, Rhode Island battled back to defeat Saint Joseph's 2-1 in the Atlantic 10 series opener Friday afternoon at Bill Beck Field. The one-run decision was Rhody's 10th of the season.
Matt Maul led off the game with a single for Saint Joseph's (14-18, 4-7 A-10) before URI's Matt Murphy went on to retire the next 12 Hawks that came to the plate. Cole Stetzar and Marc Giacalone strung together back-to-back singles to open the fifth inning, but Murphy once again shut things down with three straight outs to keep the game scoreless.
The Hawks eventually broke through in the top of the sixth, on an RBI single by James McConnon.
Rhode Island (13-25, 4-9 A-10) finally put its first hit on the board in the bottom of the seventh, when Jackson Coutts doubled down the right field line with one away. After a Hawks pitching change, Xavier Vargas reached - and then advanced to second - on a two-out error that also allowed Coutts to cross the plate, making it a 1-1 game. Greg Cavaliere followed with an RBI single up the middle as Vargas came home for what would prove to be the game-winning run.
St. Joe's threatened in the top of the eighth, putting a pair of runners on with just one out, but Tyler Barss came on in relief of Murphy and recorded back-to-back strikeouts on six pitches to preserve URI's lead. Nick Johnson then closed the door with a 1-2-3 ninth.
Inside the Box Score
- Redshirt senior Matt Murphy earned the win, striking out six with no walks over a 7.1-inning start. He allowed just one run, which was unearned, lowering his ERA to 2.24 on the season.
- Redshirt senior Tyler Barss relieved Murphy in the top of the eighth, ending the inning with a pair of strikeouts on just six pitches.
- Senior Nick Johnson picked up his fourth save of the season, getting back-to-back strikeouts to cap off a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
- Freshmen Jackson Coutts and Xavier Vargas each scored a run for the Rams. Coutts has now reached base in a team-best 23 consecutive games while Vargas' reached-base streak moves to seven in a row.
- Sophomore Greg Cavaliere singled, drove in a run and stole third. He is now tied with senior Jordan Powell for the team lead in stolen bases, with 12.
Rhody and St. Joe's return to The Beck for Game 2 of the series, Saturday at 1 p.m.