Early Hole Hurts Rams in 6-3 Loss to North Carolina A&T

Photo Credit: Mike Scott
Photo Credit: Mike Scott

How It Happened
Rhode Island (3-4) fell into a hole early and could not recover, losing to North Carolina A&T 6-3 on the final day of the First Pitch Classic in Charlotte Sunday.

North Carolina A&T struck quickly in the top of the first, getting three runs on three hits and a hit batter. Rhody got one run back in the home half of the first. Sami Villarreal led off with a double and scored when Ari Castillo singled with runners on the corners and nobody out.

What looked like a potential rally lost steam. Caileigh Holland was thrown out trying to go from first to third on Castillo's hit. Castillo - who moved to second on a wild pitch - was then thrown out at the plate trying to score on Rachel Zingerman's single to center. So despite three hits and two walks for Rhode Island's first five batters, the Rams managed just one run in the frame.

The Aggies (1-4) added two more runs in the second inning, capitalizing on a hit batter and two errors in the field. One more run in the fourth inning extended the lead to 6-1. Despite getting nine hits and drawing seven walks, Rhode Island was unable to complete a comeback.

The Rams did get the potential tying run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh. Erika Yeager doubled to lead off the inning, and two-out walks to Sarah Gunderson and Faith Musselwhite loaded the bases. Villarreal hit a grounder to short, but everyone was safe on the play, as an error allowed Yeager and Gunderson to score. However, a pop up ended the threat and game.

Inside the Box Score

  • Through the first eight games of the year, Rhode Island batters have drawn 39 walks, an average of 4.88 per game.
  • Sophomore Sami Villarreal doubled, walked twice and scored Rhody's lone run.
  • Through 34 games played in her career, Villarreal has reached base safely 60 times in 121 plate appearances. She has 30 hits and 30 walks.
  • Senior Erika Yeager doubled, singled and walked in four trips to the plate. She has a team-high seven hits through eight games.
  • Senior Sarah Gunderson doubled and singled, while freshman Rachel Zingerman was the third Ram with two hits, collecting a double and single to go with a walk.
  • Sophomore Ari Castillo singled, walked and drove in one one. She now has 30 RBI in 51 games played.
  • Freshman Cassie Swenson singled, walked twice and scored a run.
  • Sophomore Faith Musselwhite singled and walked.
  • Freshman CeCe Sidley's strong relief outing kept the Rams in the game. She piched 6.0 innings, scattering six hits with one walk. She struck out four batters and gave up just one run.
  • Rhode Island had two errors on the day after making just three combined in the first seven games of the season.

What's Next
Rhode Island will play in the Bailey Memorial Tournament hosted by Kennesaw State in Georgia next weekend. The Rams play Eastern Tennessee State and Kennesaw State once each on Feb. 21 and Feb. 22, then a single game against Marshall on Feb. 23.