The Rhode Island Rams were in a close battle with the Charleston Southern Buccaneers yesterday afternoon, but a seven-run sixth inning from the Bucs broke things open as Rhody fell 8-4. It was another tough loss for the Rams as they now stand at 1-8 on the season.
In another staff day, yesterday’s game saw red-shirt freshman Ben Wessel get his first ever collegiate start for URI as he was pitted against CSU’s Andrew Locklear. The Rams struck first when R.J. Warnock delivered an RBI bunt single in the top of the third inning, plating David Hopkins. The Buccaneers knotted things up in the bottom of the fourth when Nate Blanchard delivered an RBI ground-out, and it looked like a close game was brewing.
Not so fast. The wheels completely fell off in the bottom of the sixth for Wessel and the Rams, and all of the damage came with two outs. The Rhody starter retired the first two CSU hitters with ease before a single, a wild pitch, and another single made it 2-1 Bucs. That was it for Wessel as he was lifted for lefty Nick Narodowy. And things got out of hand pretty quickly for the senior.
Narodowy plunked the first batter he faced before giving up five consecutive hits – including two doubles – and allowed five runs as the flood gates opened. The senior was lifted without recording an out, but the damage was already done. A late URI comeback in the final two innings was not enough, and the bullpen troubles continue for the Rams… specifically Narodowy. He’s the poster child for the relief corps’ struggles so far, posting an 0-1 record and a ballooning 23.62 ERA over just two and two-thirds innings.
Rhody will try to remedy the situation this weekend as they take part in the Caravelle Resort Tournament, their first and only in-season tournament of 2014. Their first challenge is Coastal Carolina, and the first pitch scheduled for 5:30 p.m. tonight.