Rhode Island Lineup
White (CF), Brodeur (2B), Vargas (1B), Ulliana (C), Heiss (SS), Cristino (DH), McManus (3B), Cavaliere (LF), Robinson (P)
Shapiro (LF), Hart (2B), Kessinger (RF), Videtto (1B), Greene (DH), Lever (SS), Smith (C), Norton (3B), Oliphant (CF), Lasko (P)
How it Happened
A strong outing from junior starter Nick Robinson helped lead Rhode Island to a 5-3, series-opening win over Massachusetts Friday at Bill Beck Field.
After UMass' Collin Shapiro scored on a first-inning wild pitch Robinson found his groove and went on to retire 12 in a row from the first through the fifth innings.
Meanwhile, the Rams had pulled ahead 4-1 in the bottom of the third, thanks to a grand slam by Xavier Vargas. Greg Cavaliere and Austin White led off the inning with back-to-back singles through the right side, before Josh Brodeur reached on a sacrifice bunt. Vargas then drove the first pitch he saw over the right field wall to clear the bases and give Rhody a three-run lead.
Brodeur scored again in the fifth, on a two-out double by Jackson Coutts that pushed URI's advantage to 5-1.
The Minutemen trimmed the lead to two in the top of the sixth however, as two-run shot by Logan Greene made it a 5-3 ballgame. UMass was unable to get any closer though, as Jake Walker threw a scoreless seventh and Tyler Brosius kept the Minutemen off the board in the eighth and ninth.
Inside the Box Score
- Sophomore Xavier Vargas hit his first career grand slam - a third-inning shot that gave the Rams the lead for good.
- Redshirt sophomore Josh Brodeur went 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
- Sophomore Austin White also had a pair of hits while crossing the plate once.
- Sophomore Jackson Coutts hit an RBI double for the Rams. He is now tied with freshman John Cristino for the team lead with 11 extra-base hits on the season.
- Junior Greg Cavaliere singled and scored a run.
- Junior Nick Robinson earned the win, matching his career-high with seven strikeouts over six innings of work.
- Junior Jake Walker tossed a scoreless seventh inning for the Rams, setting up the six-out save for redshirt junior Tyler Brosius.
Rhody and UMass will return to The Beck for Game 2 of the series, Saturday at 1 p.m.