With the high temperature in Kingston reaching just 33 degrees, it may be hard to believe that the Rhode Island Rams began their baseball season over the weekend. But Tallahassee, Florida provides some lovely baseball weather this time of year, and Rhody got their 2013 campaign underway with a three-game set against the Florida State Seminoles. And it didn’t exactly go well; the Rams lost all three games to the ninth ranked team in the country, coming out of the weekend at a disappointing 0-3.
Friday afternoon’s season opener saw URI drop an 11-5 decision to the Seminoles, with Rhody starter Mike Bradstreet getting touched up for five hits and six runs in just 3 1/3 innings pitched. But the big blow came in the bottom of the sixth inning, when Florida State third baseman Jose Brizuela cranked a grand slam to right field, blowing the game open and eventually sending the Rams to 0-1.
Saturday’s game was a little harder to swallow for Rhody. Sean Furney got the start for URI, pitching four innings and allowing just one run, although he walked seven ‘Noles hitters. The game stayed 1-0 FSU until the top of the seventh when the Rams struck back for two runs to take a 2-1 lead. It was short-lived however, as the Rhody bullpen allowed five runs (two earned) over the final two innings, and Florida State came away with a 6-2 victory.
If you think that was painful, Sunday’s game was worse. The Rams had leads of 5-0 and 6-2 before it all fell apart once again. Four runs for the Seminoles tied things in the bottom of the eighth before left fielder DJ Stewart hit a walk-off two-run home run in the bottom of the 10th to win it for Florida State. Brendan Doonan took the loss for URI in his first appearance of the season.
It goes without saying that Florida State is an excellent baseball team, but Rhody certainly had their chances on both Saturday and Sunday. Control seems to be a problem for URI pitchers through the first three games, as they issued a combined 27 walks over the weekend. An average of nine walks per game isn’t going to result in many wins. But we’re only three games into a long season, so it’s hard to draw any conclusions just yet. The Rams are still expected to be one of the better teams in the A-10 when it’s all said and done, and they certainly haven’t played their best baseball yet. Rhody gets back into action on Friday when they take on Ole Miss at Swayze Field in Oxford.