Rams Drop Opener at Florida Gulf Coast, 7-3

Rams Drop Opener at Florida Gulf Coast, 7-3

Rhode Island Lineup
Caputo (SS), O'Connell (C), DeRegis (LF), Quinn (1B), Livingston (DH), Foreman (3B), Hetzel (RF), Sherburne (CF), Hopkins (2B), Bowditch (P)  

Florida Gulf Coast Lineup
Eggnatz (CF), Noll (2B), N.Rivera (1B), Suchy (RF), Valencia (C), Selesky (LF), Young (DH), O'Malley (3B), Diaz (SS), Murray (P)

How it Happened
Senior Tyler Bowditch cruised through the first two innings, retiring the first six batters he faced, including four in a row via strikeout. He ran into trouble in the bottom of the third, though, as the Eagles loaded the bases with no outs - but a pop out, a strike out and a ground out ended the frame with the score still knotted at 0-0.

The Rams (0-1) finally broke the gridlock in the top of the sixth when junior Tim Caputo and senior Pat Quinn capitalized on a two-out error and crossed the plate to give Rhody a 2-0 advantage. However, the Eagles (1-0) responded by putting their first six man on base in the bottom of the inning, before senior reliever Nick Narodowy took the mound with three on and no outs. Narodowy fanned the first batter he faced and followed with a 6-4-3 double-play ball that ended the FGCU threat.

Junior Mike Sherburne got things started in the seventh with a lead-off single to center, advanced to second on a sac-bunt by freshman David Hopkins, and then came around to even the score on an RBI single by Caputo.

The tie was short-lived, however, as the Eagles stormed back with four-run in the bottom of the frame and held on for the 7-3 win.

Inside the Box Score

  • Junior Tim Caputo led all players with a 4-for-5 night at the plate. He also scored once and drove in a run while recording three assists in the field.
  • Redshirt senior Shane O'Connell also had a multi-hit night, going 2-for-4 with a double.
  • Seven different Rams made their Division I debuts in the season opener. Juniors Nick DeRegis and Mike Sherburne as well as freshmen Dan Hetzel and David Hopkins each earned the start in their first-ever games for the Rams. Redshirt freshmen Blaise Whitman and TJ Lynch later entered the game as substitutions, as did true freshman Martin Taveras.
  • Hetzel and Hopkins singled both singled in their first collegiate at-bats. Hetzel ripped a shot up the middle in the second while Hopkins led off the third with a base hit to right center. 
  • Senior Tyler Bowditch struck out six batters over five shutout innings before getting into trouble in the top of the sixth. There he gave up two singles and a walk before being replaced by redshirt junior Brendan Doonan. All three runs would eventually score and be charged to Bowditch.
  • Senior Nick Narodowy took the loss, giving up three runs (two earned) on a pair of infield singles in the top of the seventh.
  • As a staff, the Rhody pitchers (Bowditch, Doonan, Narodowy and Whitman) combined for nine strikeouts while issuing just two walks on the night.
  • Defensively, Rhode Island turned two double plays and threw out the only FGCU runner attempting to steal.
  • URI and FGCU each committed a pair of errors on the night.

What's Next
The Rams and Eagles return to Swanson Stadium tomorrow afternoon, for a doubleheader set to begin at 1 p.m.