The regular season is drawing to a close for the Rhode Island Rams baseball team as they still remaining within striking distance for the top spot in the Atlantic 10. A quick glance at the standings shows that there are nine teams within three games of each other, and Rhody will look to separate themselves from the pack (in a good way) over the final two weeks. When it’s this tight, one or two losses can be detrimental in terms of the final seeding heading into the A-10 Tourney.
The Rams begin their quest to finish strong this afternoon when they open up a three game set on the road against the Butler Bulldogs. As seen in the standings, Butler enters today’s contest a tick above .500, with a 10-8 mark in conference play. What they don’t show is that the Bulldogs are currently in the midst of a four-game losing streak.
But don’t let the slump fool you – Butler has some of the better players in the conference. Their offense is anchored by senior Jimmy Risi, who carries some mind-boggling stats into today’s game. The lefty slugger is batting .340 with six (!!!) homers and 33 RBI on the season. Risi has also tallied 17 doubles, 24 extra-base hits, and a total of 51 hits in just 41 games. If the Rams want to intentionally walk him every time he hits, that would be fine with us.
Much like URI’s one-two pitching punch of Bradstreet and Furney, Butler has a similar combo of aces on their staff. Senior Kyle Kramp brings a 7-3 record and a 4.47 ERA into today’s game, which sophomore Eric Stout is 7-5 with a 5.81 ERA. The Bulldogs pitching staff has allowed more runs than the average A-10 team, but their two 7-win starters show that the offense can carry them through some of their rocky outings.
First pitch from Bulldog Park is set for 3:00 p.m. today, with tomorrow’s game getting underway at 2:00, and Sunday’s finale slated for noon. Let’s see if the Rams can take care of business in another conference series on the road – GO RHODY!