On the heels of his team’s 0-6 start to conference play, University of Rhode Island baseball coach Raphael Cerrato said the goal was for the Rams to work their way back to a position where they’d be playing meaningful games down the stretch.
They have done just that.
URI saw its nation-leading win streak end Friday but came back with two consecutive victories to take its series with Dayton. Now the most meaningful games of all await as the Rams close the season at home against St. Bonaventure this week. They’ll likely need to sweep the three-game set – and get some help from around the league – to complete their late push and earn a spot in the Atlantic 10 Tournament.
The victories over Dayton gave URI its fourth consecutive series win. The Rams lost 9-4 Friday and were on the brink of dropping Saturday’s game. Trailing 3-2 in the top of the ninth, they delivered a stunning 11-run rally to win 13-3. Sonny Ulliana hit a grand slam and Jordan Powell smacked a three-run homer to highlight the comeback. In the same situation Sunday – trailing 3-2 in the ninth – the Rams got a two-run double from Laurence Hill and an RBI single by Jordan Powell. Tyler Barss finished off the 5-3 win in the bottom half of the ninth.
URI added its best non-conference win of the season Tuesday, topping No. 23 Connecticut 4-3 with two runs in the eighth inning.
The momentum is welcome as the Rams head into a must-win situation. The top seven teams in the conference qualify for the A-10 Tournament and the Rams currently sit in eighth with an 11-10 league record. They are one game back of George Washington, two games behind Richmond and George Mason and three back of Davidson. VCU, which is off this weekend and has thus played three more games than everybody else, is three games ahead of URI in both the loss column and the win column.
The other teams are in action this weekend and URI will have an eye on their results as they try to take care of business themselves. George Washington – the closest team to URI – has the toughest test with a series at first-place St. Louis. George Mason faces last-place La Salle, Richmond visits second-place Fordham and Davidson goes against ninth-place Dayton.
URI’s opponent, St. Bonaventure, is out of tournament contention with a 5-13 record.