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Austin White rounds third

The University of Rhode Island baseball team secured a trip to the Atlantic 10 tournament and is surging into it thanks to a big finish.

The Rams needed to take three of four in their final regular season series to clinch a tournament berth and did one better, sweeping the four-game set with UMass to claim the A-10 North Division title. Seeded third in the four-team tourney field, they’ll travel to Richmond, Virginia, to face No. 2 Dayton on Thursday in the opening round of the double-elimination bracket.

The win streak is URI’s longest since March. The Rams had been trending in the right direction as they climbed up the standings but hadn’t really gotten hot yet. Now it comes at a perfect time, as the Rams hit the postseason on a high note.

The final series started with a bang as the Rams scored seven runs in the first inning of the opening game and never looked back in a 17-6 victory. They took full advantage of UMass pitching struggles in the first inning, drawing five consecutive walks. The first hit of the game was a big one as Max Mircovich hit an inside-the-park grand slam to make it 7-0.

Billy Butler and Mark Coley each added three hits and three RBI as the Rams piled on. Ryan Twitchell allowed two runs in three innings to earn the win. Todd Moxey pitched three scoreless innings of relief for the save.

The Rams rolled on in Friday’s doubleheader, winning 7-2 and 7-5 to clinch the tournament spot.

Mike Webb struck out seven and allowed two runs on three hits for the win in the opener. Alexarmando Diaz pitched two scoreless innings out of the bullpen. The Rams cracked three home runs, with Butler, Xavier Vargas and Alex Ramirez doing the honors.

Vargas was it again in the second game, driving in four runs and scoring the go-ahead run himself in the fifth inning. Relief pitcher Vitaly Jangols escaped trouble in the bottom of the seventh to preserve the win.

While the postseason spot was taken care of, there was still something to play for in Saturday’s series finale as results around the league created a path for the Rams to win the division. They navigated the route in style with a 16-1 win. Trystan Levesque allowed just one run in five innings and had plenty of support. URI took the lead early then broke the game open with five runs in the fifth inning and five more in the seventh. Butler and Austin White homered for the Rams, while Josh Brodeur drove in four runs and Ulliana went 4-for-5.

The win streak is the longest since URI won six straight against UMass-Lowell, Bryant and Sacred Heart in March. Dayton is on a similar heater, having swept its last regular season series over George Washington to finish 22-25 overall and 13-4 in conference play. VCU is the No. 1 seed. St. Joseph’s rounds out the field.

VCU and St. Joseph’s will open the tournament Thursday at 12 p.m., followed by URI and Dayton at 3:30 p.m. The championship round is set for Saturday. All games will be broadcast on ESPN+.

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