The Rhode Island Rams’ hot streak couldn’t last forever, and the pitching staff from the Xavier Musketeers made sure of that. X’s hurlers shut Rhody out in the first two games of the series, but URI managed to stave off a sweep in the third and final game yesterday afternoon. The final game of the series was supposed to be played today, but it was rescheduled to a Saturday double-header due to rain in the forecast. As a result, the Rams saw their nine-game winning streak snapped as they drop to 10-5 in the Atlantic 10 and 25-19 overall.
Game one saw Mike Bradstreet take the hill for URI as he faced off against Musketeers pitcher Jon Richard. The story of this one was simple: Bradstreet was good, but Richard was better as Xavier came away with a 2-0 victory. Rhody’s ace went this distance once again for his fifth complete game of the season, allowing just four hits while striking out five. But X’s senior ace was absolutely dominant. Richard did not allow a hit after the fourth inning in a complete game effort of his own. The Rams recorded just three hits on the afternoon as the never advanced a runner past second base. Simply put, it was the Jon Richard show as he completely silenced the Rhody bats.
Saturday’s double-header was supposed to feature two seven-inning games, but Rhody and Xavier played both contests into extra innings. The first game went much like the series opener as URI suffered another tough-luck 1-0 loss in nine innings. Sean Furney and Musketeers starter Scott Klever each pitched seven shut-out innings before turning things over to their bullpens. A Stephen Schoettmer RBI single in the bottom of the ninth off Brad Applin scored Jake Forrester for the Xavier walk-off win. Once again, the URI offense couldn’t muster much, piecing together just six hits in the nine frames.
Game two saw the Rams quickly end their 18-inning scoreless streak with a two-spot in the top of the first off Musketeers starter Tyler Koors. Mike LeBel got things going with an RBI double and Kevin Stenhouse followed with a run-scoring single, giving Rhody starter Steve Moyers a 2-0 lead before he even threw a pitch. The lefty cruised through six innings before giving up a game-tying two-run home run to Xavier’s Joe Forney in the top of the seventh. Meanwhile, the URI offense went cold once again, going 11 innings without a run as the game spilled into extra innings once again. The Rams finally broke through in the 13th inning, putting four runs on the board as they salvaged the final game of the series with a 6-2 win. Pat Quinn delivered the big blow with a bases-clearing three-run triple to put things out of reach. Bobby Dean picked up the win for URI in relief, pitching 3 and 2/3 scoreless innings out of the pen.
Overall, this was not how the Rams wanted this series to go, as they have slipped into a tie for third with the Musketeers in the A-10 standings. Rhody looks to get their bats reheated on Tuesday when they welcome the Boston College Eagles to the Beck. URI will be two weeks removed from a 3-2 win over BC in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, and they’ll be hoping for similar results this time around.