May 26, 2011
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CAMDEN, N.J. - Five different Rams turned in multiple-hit performances as the second-seeded Rhode Island baseball team downed sixth-seeded La Salle, 7-4, on Thursday afternoon at the Atlantic 10 Championship. It marks the fifth consecutive year that URI opens the conference tournament with a win, and the second straight year that the Rams defeat La Salle in their first game.
The win also improves Rhode Island to 31-20, making this year's senior class the winningest in program history with 130 victories over the last four years.
Junior Mike LeBel (Quincy, Mass.) led the way, going 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBI. Redshirt junior Dan Haverstick (Marlton, N.J.) also drove in a pair of runs while senior Kyle Borden (Lincoln, R.I.) finished with a game-high three RBI.
Senior Ken Graveline (Prospect, Conn.) got the win on the mound, giving up four runs (three earned) over 6.1 innings of work. Redshirt senior Kyle Regnault (Johnston, R.I.) came on in the ninth to earn the save.
The Rams took control early on as they jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Senior Kenny Burns (Shelton, Conn.) got things started with a one-out single through the right side before stealing second and advancing to third on a ground out by senior Tom Coulombe (Lincoln, R.I.). LeBel then singled to second to score Burns and give URI a 1-0 lead.
Redshirt junior Greg Annarummo (Bristol, R.I.) followed with a single back to the mound before a double steal set up Borden's two-run single to left. Junior Milan Adams (Exeter, R.I.) then doubled to centerfield and came around to score on a two-run single by Haverstick.
La Salle (28-25) got one back in the top of the second but Rhody pushed it to 6-1 in the bottom of the third when LeBel scored from second on a base hit by Borden. LeBel then flew out to right field to plate redshirt junior Jeff Cammans (Jamestown, R.I.) in the bottom of the fourth, giving URI a 7-1 advantage.
The Explorers continued to chip away at the lead, scoring one in sixth and two more in the top of the seventh, but were unable to get any closer.
After six and a third innings, Graveline handed the ball over to sophomore Mike Bradstreet (Lansdale, Pa.), who took the Rams into the ninth without allowing a hit. Regnault then got three straight outs to end the game and pick up his third save of the season.
Eric Van Wyk went the distance for La Salle, yielding seven runs on 12 hits to take the loss. Offensively, the Explorers were led by Joe Bennie, who was 2-for-4 with a triple.
The Rams return to Campbell's Field tomorrow afternoon when they take on top-seeded Charlotte at Noon. Rhody and Charlotte have met three times in the Atlantic 10 Championship, with the Niners holding a 3-0 advantage in those games. Additionally, Charlotte has had a hand in eliminating URI from three of the last four conference tournaments.