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KINGSTONâThe University of Rhode Island baseball team kicked off their A10 schedule over the weekend, with a rough series against defending conference champions Dayton at Bill Beck Memorial Field.
After his teamâs disappointing loss in game three on Easter Sunday URI head coach Jim Foster summed up the weekendâs games bluntly and succinctly.
âThe baseball that was played here the last three days, guys, was bad baseball,â he said. âBoth teams were bad, they won two out of three cause they got a five run inning on Friday and a five run inning [Sunday]. A lot of that was because of our own cause.
âAt times this year we have been our own worse enemy, [Sunday] it was like that. The juniors and seniors are struggling right now and its tough to
play winning baseball when your upper classmen arenât getting it done.â
Things started on a positive note for the Rams in Friday afternoonâs series opener, with senior Mike Bradstreet taking the mound toting a 38-inning scoreless streak.
The Rams took the lead in the bottom of the first inning when third baseman Mike LeBel hit a sacrifice fly that plated Cranston native Jeff Roy.
Rhodyâs lead - and Bradstreetâs scoreless streak - would not last though as Dayton hung five runs on the Rams in the fifth inning to hault Bradstreetâs stretch without allowing a run at 32 and two-thirds innings.
The Flyers added another run in the seventh, while the Rams got a second in the eighth but it wasnât enough as Dayton held on for the 6-2 victory.
URI worked counts and got on base, drawing nine walks, but the problem was bringing them home as Ram batters stranded 13 men in total.
In Saturdayâs win senior and Warwick native Sean Furney pitched a complete game, two-hit shutout as the Rams cruised to a 4-0 victory. In the breezy, conservative effort Furney faced the minimum 27 batters on 83 pitches while striking out four, walking none and recording five infield assists.
âFurney pitched a great game,â Foster said.
Unfortunately for the Rams Sundayâs series finale followed a similar script to that of Fridayâs opener as opposed to Saturdayâs gem.
Freshman leftie Steve Moyers was dealing early and through the first five innings had allowed just one hit to go with six strikeouts.
While Moyers was pitching well Rhody also got it done at the offensive end.
The Rams once again struck early when Roy drew a walk, got a steal and came around on RBI single from LeBel in the first inning.
URI added two more runs in the fourth with back-to-back doubles by second baseman Pat Fortunato and Cranston native Shane OâConnell. Roy knocked in OâConnell after a single by fellow Cranstonite Chris Famiglietti.
As it was in Fridayâs game, however, the fifth inning was once again the Ramsâ downfall Sunday.
In the fifth the Flyers scored five runs thanks to a couple singles from the top of the order, a Rhody throwing error and a homerun from Mark Podlas.
âAnything soft and over the plate is a favor,â Foster said. âThatâs what the homerun [Sunday] was, it was a changeup.
âWe didnât execute a few pitches and they took advantage of it.â
Dayton matriculated another in the seventh to go ahead 6-3 with a hit-by-pitch, a walk, a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly.
Rhode Island looked to be materializing a comeback in the eighth when OâConnell led off with a single but a few moments later the rally ended in puzzling fashion.
Following OâConnellâs single Fortunato seemed to have drawn a walk but instead the call was a late, questionable third strike.
Thinking the call was a fourth ball, OâConnell started towards second only to be tagged out for the unconventional double play.
To further convolute the play the ball also appeared to have fallen out of the first basemanâs glove when tagging out OâConnell.
âThe ball hit his glove and popped out,â Foster said. âI saw it and no one else saw it.â