In a game that was completed nearly fifteen hours from the first pitch and featured both rain and lightning delays, the Rhode Island Rams fell in heartbreaking fashion to the George Washington Colonials this morning. Rhody rallied to take a one-run lead in the top of the ninth, only to see GW score twice in the bottom of the inning for the walk-off win. The loss was URI’s second of the Atlantic 10 Championship, meaning the Rams are now eliminated from the tournament.
This morning’s game actually began around 8:45 p.m. last night, with Rhody’s Steve Moyers facing off against Aaron Weisberg for the Colonials. The two starters dueled until the fourth inning when George Washington finally broke through for a run. Justin Albright led off the inning with a single, advanced to second on a ground-out, and stole third. On the steal, Rhody catcher Shane O’Connell’s throw sailed into left field, allowing Albright to come around to score.
URI was able to get on the board in the top of the fifth. Jesse Lee delivered an RBI single, scoring O’Connell from third to even the score at one apiece. Rain, thunder, and lightning crept into the area in the bottom of the fifth, and the game was suspended after a lengthy delay. The action picked up at 10:00 this morning, with the Rams taking a 2-1 lead in the sixth on an RBI double from Pat Fortunato. But Derek Brown’s two-run blast in the seventh put GW on top 3-2. The score remained that way until the ninth, when things got exciting.
The first five Rams reached in the top half of the ninth, as they scored twice to take a 4-3 lead into the bottom half of the inning. But George Washington would rally against URI reliever Bobby Dean. Matthew Murakami would reach on an error with one out before a walk, a single, and another walk tied things at four. Dean was lifted for Brendan Doonan, who was called upon to get out of the jam. Unfortunately for Rhody, he could not. Xavier Parkmond delivered an infield single for the Colonials, plating the winning run in a 5-4 walk-off win.
It was a gut-punching way for Rhody to exit, and their two tourney losses saw some uncharacteristically poor defense from the Rams. URI allowed four unearned runs to Charlotte on Wednesday, and two big errors in today’s (yesterday’s?) led to runs, including the game-winner. During the regular season, Rhody held a .973 team fielding percentage, good for second place in the A-10. It’s a tough one to swallow, but Ram fans shouldn’t let themselves get too down. It was a tremendous season that saw Rhode Island grab a share of the A-10 title and achieve numerous team and personal milestones. Sean Furney won A-10 Pitcher of the Year, and he has great things ahead of him in his baseball career. Ditto for Mike Bradstreet and the rest of the URI seniors. We’ll have a full season recap coming up next week, but until then, as always, GO RHODY!