Take that, Bobby Valentine. The Rhode Island Rams scored twice in the bottom of the ninth inning to pick up a big 10-9 walk-off win over Sacred Heart. Rhody was able to weather a (very) bad fifth inning as they battled back for their first home win, and their second straight victory overall. URI now sits at 4-13 on the season, and 1-1 at The Beck.
The Rams sent Brendan Doonan to the hill on the staff day as SHU countered with Robbie Maguire. Rhode Island got on the board first with four runs in the second inning, thanks to some sloppy play from the Pioneers. A pair of bases-loaded walks and a throwing error accounted for the first three runs, and Tim Caputo knocked in the fourth with an RBI single. It looked like URI was in control, but then the fifth inning happened.
Coach Foster sent Doonan back out to the hill in the fifth, and it was certainly a defensible decision. The junior was carrying a no-hitter, and had scattered just two walks over the first four innings. But things didn’t work out too well. Sacred Heart started the inning with three straight singles as they plated a pair of runs before Doonan got the hook. Rhody turned to freshman Taso Stathopoulos to put out the fire, but he didn’t fare much better. Four singles, a triple, an error, and five runs later ended Stathopoulos’ afternoon, and it was an 8-4 SHU lead when the dust settled.
The Rams weren’t done scoring, though. URI put together a four-run bottom of the seventh to knot things up at eight, with the big blow coming from Derek Gardella. The sophomore delivered a two-run bases loaded single to spark the rally as Rhode Island was right back in the game. But a Sacred Heart sac fly in the top of the eighth had Rhody on the ropes once again as they were facing their 14th loss of the season.
Until the bottom of the ninth, that is. A pair of SHU errors allowed the Rams to move a runner into scoring position, and Mike Corin delivered. His RBI double tied things up before Mike Sherburne won it with a single two batters later as Rhode Island picked up their second walk-off win of the season. Matt Ferraiolo picked up the win in relief for the Rams in what turned out to be an exciting, back-and-forth game.
URI will try to continue their winning ways when they welcome Saint Louis to The Beck to open up conference play. Rhody will face the defending Atlantic 10 champs in a three-game series this weekend.