Rams Hang On To Take Series Opener Against Bonnies, 8-7

Photo Credit: Mike Scott
Photo Credit: Mike Scott

Rhode Island Lineup
Powell (CF), Foley (LF), Coutts (DH), Ulliana (C), Vargas (1B), McManus (2B), Ilario (RF), Heiss (SS), Hill (3B), Murphy (P)

St. Bonaventure Lineup
Fuller (LF), Magnanti (DH), MacCarrick (RF), Malczewski (3B), Vaccaro (CF), Henshaw (1B), Stauffer (C), Ferlenda (2B), O'Connor (SS)

How it Happened
Rhode Island kept its postseason hopes alive, holding off a scrappy St. Bonaventure team 8-7 in the opener of a three-game series Thursday afternoon.

The Rams (23-26, 12-10 A-10) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third when a sacrifice fly by Jackson Coutts plated Laurence Hill, who had led off the inning with a triple to the centerfield wall.

St. Bonaventure (9-32, 5-14 A-10) took advantage of a Rhody error the following inning however, and even the score at one apiece.

The Rams then used a four-hit fourth to plate three runs and move back ahead 4-1. Sam Ilario got things started with a one-out double down the third base line before advancing to third on a single by Kevin Heiss. Hill then doubled to score Ilario and Jordan Powell followed with an RBI groundout that pushed across Heiss. Hill went on to score on a base hit by Mike Foley, giving Rhody a three-runs cushion.

The lead was short-lived however as the Bonnies put three runs on the board in the top of the fifth to knot things back up, this time at 4-4. They took their first lead of the game the following inning, using a two-out RBI double to go up 5-4.

Rhode Island came up with a four-run rally in the bottom of the sixth to move back in front, 8-5. Hill led off with a single and moved up to second when Powell walked. Foley followed with a bunt single toward third base that allowed Hill - the tying run - to score from second while also moving Powell to third. Powell then gave Rhody the lead when he scored on a passed ball.

A single from Coutts put runners on the corners, and a wild pitch brought in Foley to make the score 7-5. Coutts capped the rally, and made it an 8-5 game, when he crossed the plate on an error that allowed Sonny Ulliana to reach first.

After the Bonnies scored once in the top of the seventh to pull back within 8-6, things got interesting in the top of the ninth. Ryan O'Connor reached on an error to start things off for St. Bonaventure. He moved to third on a one-out single, and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Ryan MacCarrick. The Bonnies got the potential go-ahead run on base when Jeff Palczewski singled to put runners on first and second, but Nick Johnson struck out David Vaccaro to end the game.

Inside the Box Score

  • The win was Rhody's 15th in the last 16 games, as well as the team's sixth 1-run victory.
  • As a team, the Rams were 5-for-16 (.313) with runners in scoring position. Rhody's leadoff hitters were an impressive 4-for-8 on the day.
  • Redshirt junior Laurence Hill led the offense with three hits and three runs scored. He tripled, doubled and singled while also driving in one run.
  • Senior Mike Foley singled twice, drove in a pair of runs and scored one of his own.
  • Senior Sam Ilario doubled, walked and scored once.
  • Junior Kevin Heiss and freshman Jackson Coutts both singled and scored one run. Coutts - who also walked once - has now reached base safely in each of Rhody's last 34 games.
  • Sophomore Nick Robinson pitched 1.1 innings of relief to earn his first career victory.
  • Seniors Tyler Barss and Nick Johnson combined to throw 2.2 innings of scoreless relief. Barss had three strikeouts over 1.2 innings, and Johnson fanned two in one inning of work to earn his ninth save of the season.

Up Next
The Rams and Bonnies will return to The Beck to close out the series with a Friday afternoon doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m. Between the two games, URI will hold a brief ceremony to recognize its six graduating seniors: Tyler Barss, Mike Foley, Nick Johnson, Matt Murphy, Jordan Powell and Taso Stathopoulos.