Wilson's Gem, Ulliana's Walk-Off Hit in 10th Keep Rams' Season Alive

Photo Credit: Brian Kunderman
Photo Credit: Brian Kunderman

Rhode Island Lineup
White (CF), Heiss (SS), Vargas (1B), Laske (C), Coutts (DH), Brodeur (2B), McManus (3B), Cavaliere (LF), Mircovich (RF),  Wilson (P)

Saint Louis Lineup
Bartlett (CF), Redding (C), Garella (RF), Stowe (1B), Dubet (2B), Benes (3B), Livorsi (DH), Robinson (LF), Jordan (SS), Lehmann (P)

How It Happened

Pinch hitter Sonny Ulliana hit a walk-off two-run single with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning to keep Rhode Island's season alive as the sixth-seeded Rams beat seventh-seeded Saint Louis 2-1 well after midnight Thursday morning.

In an incredible pitching duel between redshirt seniors Tyler Wilson from URI and Connor Lehmann of Saint Louis, it was Wilson who got the win. Both pitchers went the distances for their respective teams, combining for 19.2 innings of work, 270 pitches, 33 strikeouts and just nine hits allowed.

Trailing 1-0 heading into the bottom of the 10th, Rhode Island (24-28) got the tying run on with one out when Josh Brodeur reached on an infield single. He got to second with two outs on a stolen base before Greg Cavaliere was intentionally walked. Ulliana stepped to the plate and lined an 0-1 pitch to the right field corner, allowing both runners to score.

Saint Louis (25-30) had taken the lead in the top of the inning. Shane Benes singled and with one out stole second base. He moved to third when the throw from catcher Jordan. Laske sailed into center field. Wilson's 14th strikeout - a new career high - got him one out away from escaping the jam, Kevin Jordan hit a sharp grounder that deflected off Wilson to Brodeur at second base, but Jordan beat the throw, allowing Benes to score.

Sixth-seeded Rhode Island (24-28) was held hitless for the first 5.2 innings by Lehmann. Kevin Heiss broke up the no-hit bid by lining a single to left field. Xavier Vargas followed with a walk to get Heiss into scoring position, but Lehmann's 10th strikeout ended the threat.

Inside the Box Score

  • Redshirt senior Tyler Wilson (3-0) pitched all 10 innings for Rhode Island, allowing no earned runs on six hits. He struck out 14 batters and walked just one.
  • The win was the 26th career victory for Wilson, extending his own career record.
  • As good as Wilson was, Saint Louis starter Connor Lehmann was just as impressive. He also threw 10 innings, allowing just three hits, all singles. Lehmann set the Atlantic 10 Championship record for strikeouts in a game with 19.
  • The 33 strikeouts combined for Wilson and Lehmann were the most ever by two pitchers in an A-10 tournament game.
  • Of the 20 players who had an at bat, 19 struck out at least once. The only one who didn't was Rhode Island's Sonny Ulliana, who singled and drove in the winning runs in his lone trip to the plate.
  • Senior Kevin Heiss and redshirt sophomore Josh Brodeur each singled once for Rhody. Brodeur also scored once.
  • Sophomores Jackson Coutts and Austin White were both hit by a pitch.
  • Junior Greg Cavaliere walked twice and scored the game-winning run after being intentionally walked in the botttom of the 10th.
  • Sophomore Xavier Vargas walked once as well.

What's Next
Rhode Island will play the loser of Thursday's game between #2 Davidson and #3 Dayton Thursday evening at 5 p.m.The Davidson-Dayton game is slated for 10 a.m. Thursday.