May 20, 2011
DAYTON, Ohio - The Rhode Island baseball team overcame a 7-3 deficit in the top of the ninth inning, plating six unanswered runs to down Dayton 9-7 on Friday afternoon. The victory guarantees Rhody the No. 2 seed, as well as a first round bye, at next weekend's Atlantic 10 Championship.
The win - URI's first when trailing heading into the ninth - also improves the team's record to 30-19 (15-7), marking the first time in program history that the Rams post four consecutive 30-win seasons. With a total of 129 victories over the last four years, this year's senior class is now tied with the Class of 2006 as the winningest class in Rhody baseball history.
Individually, junior Mike LeBel also had a record-setting afternoon as his 24th career homer gave him sole possession of the all-time home run record at Rhode Island. He now leads the team with eight on the season.
LeBel finished the day with three hits and two runs while junior Jeff Cammans also had three hits while scoring once and driving in a pair. Senior Kenny Burns and redshirt juniors Greg Annarummo and Dan Haverstick also recorded multiple hit performances for the Rams, who finished with 16 as a team.
Rhody led, 3-1, after six and a half innings but the Dayton bats came alive in the bottom of the seventh as the Flyers put up a six spot to take over the lead at 7-3.
However, the Rams came back with a six-run effort in the top of the ninth to escape with the win. Cammans got things started with a one-out infield single before coming around to score on a triple down the right field line by Burns. LeBel was then dealt four straight balls before advancing to second on an RBI single by senior Tom Coulombe. Annarummo followed with a double down the left field line, scoring LeBel, before senior Kyle Borden was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Sophomore pinch hitter Kevin Stenhouse then reached on a fielder's choice ground out back to the mound but Coulombe was thrown out at the plate for the second out of the inning. Haverstick went on to work an 0-2 count into an RBI single to short, pushing across Annarummo to tie the game before an error on UD second baseman Mel Skockdopole allowed Roy to score the go-ahead run. Stenhouse then scored an insurance run for the Rams on an RBI single by senior Ty Muller.
In the bottom of the inning, senior Gardner Leaver handed the ball over to junior reliever Chris Pickering with a runner on first and no outs. Pickering retired Brian Blasik for the first out but Dayton quickly loaded the bases after a single by Bobby Glover and a walk to C.J. Gillman. However, Pickering worked his way out of the jam to pick up his first save of the season. Leaver, meanwhile, earned his first win of the year.
Mike Hauschild took the loss for the Flyers, who fall to 29-25 overall and 14-9 in league play.
The Rams and Flyers return to Time Warner Cable Stadium to close out the series, tomorrow at Noon. A Rhode Island win would give the Rams a share of the A-10 regular season title as URI and Charlotte would both finish with a 17-7 mark in conference games.