Rams Unable to Hold On, No. 1 Florida Walks Off With 3-2 Win

Photo Credit: Jerome Hicks
Photo Credit: Jerome Hicks

Rhode Island Lineup
Heiss (SS), Brodeur (2B), Powell (CF), Coutts (DH), Ulliana (C), Cavaliere (LF), McManus (1B), Daller (3B), Foley (RF), Stathopoulos (P)

Florida Lineup
Dalton (RF), Maldonado (DH), Schwarz (C), India (3B), Liput (SS), Reese (2B), Bell (1B), Horvath (CF), Langworthy (LF), Kowar (P)

How it Happened

Rhode Island battled No. 1 Florida in the series finale, but came up short in a 3-2 loss Saturday night at McKethan Stadium. The Rams never trailed the top-ranked Gators until the last play of the game, a pinch-hit RBI single which gave Florida the 3-2 walkoff win.

Rhode Island (2-11) took its first lead of the series in the top of the second inning when Sonny Ulliana sent a solo shot over the right field wall to give the Rams a 1-0 advantage.

Florida (15-3) tied things up in the bottom of the third however, as leadoff hitter Nick Horvath reached on an error, stole second, advanced to third on an infield single and scored on a sac-fly by Nelson Maldonado.

Redshirt senior Taso Stathopoulos went on to retire six of the next seven hitters he faced. He stranded a runner at third in the fourth inning and Sonny Ulliana caught Wil Dalton stealing to end the fifth.

Rhody went down in order in the sixth but reclaimed the lead in the seventh. Josh Brodeur got things started with a leadoff single and Jordan Powell followed with a four-pitch walk. After a one-out double steal, Ulliana was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Greg Cavaliere then sent a sac fly into centerfield to drive in Brodeur and put Rhody back on top 2-1.

Stathopoulos went back to the mound and worked a 1-2-3 seventh, before being replaced by Nick Johnson in the eighth. Johnson struck out the first three hitters he faced, but one - Dalton - reached on a wild third strike. The Rams escaped the threat though, using an inning-ending ground ball to preserve the 2-1 lead.

Florida rallied back in the bottom of the ninth however. Deacon Liput first hit an RBI single to tie the game at 2-2 and went on to score the game-winning run on a two-out, pinch-hit single to second by Jordan Butler.

Inside the Box Score

  • Redshirt senior Taso Stathopoulos turned in arguably the best performance of his career, allowing just four hits and one (unearned) run over a 7.0-inning start. 
  • Senior Nick Johnson struck out three in an inning's worth of relief work, but was responsible for the tying and go-ahead runs in the bottom of the ninth. 
  • Redshirt Tyler Barss relieved Johnson with a runner on first and no outs in the ninth. After walking the first hitter he faced, he got a groundout and a strikeout, but then gave up what proved to be the game-winning RBI single.
  • Rhode Island recorded just two hits in the loss - a solo homerun by sophomore Sonny Ulliana and a seventh-inning single by Josh Brodeur
  • Florida's pitching staff issued just one walk in the game, a seventh-inning free pass to senior Jordan Powell.

Up Next
The Rams are back in action on Thursday when they take on former Rhode Island head coach Jim Foster and his Army West Point Black Knights at Stetson University. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.