Rhode Island at La Salle: Rhody Sweeps Explorers, Will be Top Seed in A-10 Championship

Rhode Island baseball put the finishing touches on an impressive regular season today, sweeping La Salle and locking up the #1 seed in the process.

The to-do list was simple for the Rhode Island Rams coming into their final series of the regular season. Sweep, and be guaranteed the number one overall seed in the Atlantic 10 Championship next week. Anything less, and be relegated to scoreboard watching on the last day of the season.

Well. There will be no scoreboard watching. Rhody dispatched of the La Salle Explorers in three games, guaranteeing the top seed, a first round bye, and at least a share of the regular season title. Get on the bandwagon, folks. This URI team is for real.

Here’s how the Rams closed the regular season:

Thursday

It’s time to just start sitting back and enjoying Tyler Wilson’s career in Kingston. The lefty turned in yet another special performance, allowing just one hit and no runs through seven innings while striking out nine to log his 11th win (to just one loss) of 2016. Rhode Island pitching allowed just two total hits all game as they shut down the Explorers and coasted to a 6-0 victory in game one.

As for the offense, it was the Ryan Olmo, Jordan Powell, and Chris Hess show. The trio combined for three doubles, a triple, four runs, and all six RBI to pace the Rhody offense. Left fielder Mike Corin also chipped in with a triple and a run scored for the Rams.

Friday (Game One)

The first game of this afternoon’s double-header wasn’t as lopsided as Thursday’s game one, but it was a hell of a lot more exciting. URI let a 3-0 lead slip away before using an impressive eighth inning rally to down La Salle 7-5. Rhode Island had a few hiccups on defense, but a strong finish preserved the win for Steve Moyers, with Tyler Barss earning his 12th save of the year.

Rhody built an early 3-0 lead thanks to a pair of RBI ground outs and a run-scoring triple from Chris Hess. But a sloppy bottom of the third — which included two errors from third baseman Martin Figueroa — allowed the Explorers to charge back and tie things at three. It was a scoreless battle from there, but La Salle finally pushed through with a sac fly in the bottom of the seventh to take a 4-3 lead.

In the top of the eighth, the Rams responded. URI got back-to-back RBI triples from Laurence Hill and Chris Hess, while Figueroa and Mike Corin added RBI singles as Rhody exploded for four runs to take a 7-4 lead. From there, Rhode Island’s bullpen held off the Explorers to secure the win.

Friday (Game Two)

Today’s second game saw the Rams get back to their convincing winning ways as they downed La Salle 7-1 to complete the sweep. URI once again got a lights out pitching performance — this time from Ben Wessel. The righty tossed seven and a third innings of one-run ball, allowing just four hits while walking none and striking out 10 for the ‘W’.

Meanwhile, the 1-4 hitters (Hess, Figueroa, Jordan Powell, and Ryan Olmo) in the Rhody lineup went a combined 8-for-16 with a double, a triple, five runs scored, and five RBI. Figueroa (2-for-4, 3 RBI) and Olmo (4-for-4) both wreaked havoc on La Salle’s pitching.

Now, the Rams will await more results as they’ll find out if the Atlantic 10 title will be theirs and theirs alone. Oh, and we’ll also know who they’ll line up against in the A-10 Championship soon enough.