Rhody baseball will begin their final series of 2014 today, but the “all good things must come to an end” cliché doesn’t exactly apply. Rhode Island’s season has been quite disappointing, especially considering the recent success that the program has enjoyed. The Rams are currently 12-38 and 6-16 in the Atlantic 10 with just three games to play. They’ll try to avoid the dreaded 40-loss mark beginning this afternoon when they welcome Richmond to The Beck.
2013 Record: 31-24 (13-11 in the Atlantic 10)
Key Losses: 1B/P Jacob Mayers, 1B/OF/P Bret Williams, OF Matt Zink
Key Returners: IF/OF Nick Poulos, OF Tanner Stanley, P Andrew Blum
This isn’t exactly shocking, but this series means a lot more to the Spiders that it does to URI. Richmond is currently 22-25-1 on the year and 11-11 in conference play. They’re also jockeying for a spot in next week’s A-10 Tournament, although they do control their own destiny. A sweep of the Rams will guarantee UR a spot in Saint Louis.
Lefty Dylan Stoops is expected to make the start for Richmond in this afternoon’s series opener. The red-shirt junior has made nine starts on the year, carrying a 2-6 record and a 4.50 ERA into today’s action. Zak Sterling, who looks to be UR’s best pitcher, will get the nod in game two. The 6’7″ lefty is 5-3 with a 3.03 ERA on the season, and has walked just 14 batters over 77 and a third innings. Ryan Cook will make his sixth start of the year in the regular season finale. The junior is 4-1 with a 4.50 ERA in 2014.
As far as bats go, the Spiders have one of the most dangerous power hitters in the Atlantic 10. Sophomore Matt Dacey checks in with a jaw-dropping 11 home runs on the season to go along with a .271 average. Not surprisingly, he also leads UR with 42 RBI and a stout .514 slugging percentage. But he doesn’t lead the team in average – that distinction belongs to infielder Doug Kraeger. He’s currently batting .314 on the year, including a team-high 17 doubles and five long balls of his own.
Due to the expected rain on Saturday, there’s been a minor scheduling change for this weekend. The first game of the series will get underway at 3:00 p.m. today as scheduled, but Saturday’s game has been moved up. Instead, the Rams and Spiders will play a double-header tomorrow, with game one beginning at 11:00 a.m. All URI home games can be heard on WRIU 90.3 FM – click here for a live stream.