The Rhode Island Rams will welcome the Dayton Flyers to Bill Beck Field tomorrow to open up a three-game series against the defending Atlantic 10 champs. Rhody is coming off a 10-0 beat-down of Division II foes UMass-Lowell to up their record to 10-12 on the season. And this is all after starting the season 0-9. Tomorrow’s game will kick off A-10 play for URI in the 2013 season.
A year after playing in the College World Series, Dayton is… not that great. The Flyers come into this one at 5-14, and were just swept by the St. Louis Billikens in three games. UD’s five wins have come against just three teams: UNC-Greensboro, Wofford, and Oakland. Not exactly elite competition. The three losses to SLU put Dayton at 0-3 in the conference, just a year removed from a 17-7 conference record. The Flyers have already felt the wrath of Rhode Island this season as they dropped a pair of games to Bryant back on March 9th.
After losing 10 seniors from last year, UD is in a bit of a rebuilding mode, but their veterans are leading the charge this season once again. Senior Jared Broughton is their big offensive stud, batting .290 with a homer and a team-best 13 RBI. Also of note: the Flyers led the nation in steals last season, and they’re deadly on the base paths once again. They have 47 steals in just 19 games, with Ian Hundley pacing his team with 15.
Dayton’s pitching is a clear weakness, so let’s hope the Rams can take advantage. UD’s starters have just two total wins on the season, with sophomore Noah Buettgen being the only hurler to write home about. He has a 1-3 record, but it’s mostly due to poor run support as evidenced by his 1.96 ERA. As a team, the Flyers surrendered 30 runs in their three-games against the Billikens.
First pitch tomorrow is slated for 3:00 PM, with a 1:00 start on Saturday and a noon matinee in Sunday’s finale. There’s no reason that Rhody can’t stay hot against a Dayton team that appears to be having a down year. A three-game sweep will put the Rams over .500 for the first time this season. Can they do it? Stick with us throughout the weekend – it’s an exiting time for URI baseball.