SOUTH KINGSTOWN — Raphael Cerrato couldn’t tell you which team is leading the Atlantic 10 baseball race or where his University of Rhode Island Rams are slotted.

“I honestly have no idea what the standings are in the Atlantic 10. I haven’t looked at them one time this entire season,” Cerrato said. “We’re just trying to win games. Just play good baseball and win games.”

The approach was borne out of necessity when the Rams plunged into an 0-6 start to conference play. But if Cerrato looked now, he would see a URI team that is slowly but surely climbing the ranks.

A week after picking up its first A-10 series win, the Rams swept St. Joseph’s over the weekend at Bill Beck Field to improve to 6-9 in league play. Overall, with non-conference play factored in, URI has won eight games in a row, including Tuesday’s rivalry game against Bryant.

“That’s what you hope for, you get a few wins in a row, kind of take a deep breath and relax, and you see us start to play URI type of baseball,” Cerrato said. “We’re doing the little things really well, so I’m happy with that.”

The Rams still face an uphill battle to salvage conference contention, but they’re back in the mix. The top seven teams in the standings earn bids to the A-10 Tournament. URI currently sits in eighth, with three series remaining, all against teams below them in the standings. If the Rams continue at their recent pace – they’ve won six of nine since the 0-6 start – they would finish at 12-12. Last year, the seventh place team finished 13-11.

“Our goal is to put ourselves in position to get in [to the conference tournament] in the last weekend or two,” Cerrato said. “I know we need to get to a certain number of wins to have a chance, but we just need to play well. If we play well, we’ll have a chance.”

The Rams swept St. Joe’s with a pair of 2-1 victories and a 7-3 win in the finale.

Matt Murphy allowed just an unearned run over 7.1 innings in the series opener. Relievers Tyler Barss and Nick Johnson slammed the door, as URI made a two-run seventh inning stand up. Greg Cavaliere led the offense with an RBI.

Saturday, Tyler Wilson took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before the Hawks broke through with two hits and a run. Barss and Johnson again closed it out, combining for 2.2 perfect innings.

“Barss and Johnson the last two days, have been phenomenal,” Cerrato said.

The offense scored single runs in the first and third innings off St. Joe’s standout Tim Brennan, with Xavier Vargas leading the charge with an RBI.

The nerves of a pair of 2-1 games gave way to an easier finish Sunday, as URI rallied from a 1-0 deficit with a seven-run seventh inning. Jackson Coutts, Brett McManus and Austin White had two RBI apiece to lead the charge. The rally made a winner out of Taso Stathopoulos, who tossed six strong innings on the mound.

Momentum carried into Tuesday’s non-conference matchup with Bryant as the Rams won an 8-6 slugfest. Vargas drove in three runs, while Coutts, Kevin Heiss and Laurence Hill knocked in one each. Murphy made a rare bullpen appearance for a scoreless eighth inning and Johnson pitched the ninth for the save.

“You can just see the difference,” Cerrato said. “We’re still not quite there offensively, but you can just see the confidence level in the dugout is much better. We had a couple of wins where we had to come back. Earlier in the season, we struggled with that. Now, we have confidence. If we get down by a run, we think, ‘It’s OK, we can come back.’”

URI has a conference bye for this weekend and will return to action May 4 with a home series against La Salle.

“We put ourselves in an 0-6 hole,” Cerrato said. “At that point, you’re just hoping you can get it to where you’re playing some meaningful games the last few weekends of the year. Hopefully we do that.”

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