KINGSTON, RI (04/29/02) - Sophomore Erik Vardijan hurled seven solid innings and the Saint Joseph's baseball team scored four time in the top of the ninth, but it wasn't enough as Rhode Island held on for a slim 7-5 victory. With the loss, SJU fell to 13-32-1 overall, 7-11 A-10, while URI improved to 21-23, 8-10 A-10. A pitcher's duel through seven innings, URI clung to a 2-1 lead going into the bottom of the eighth. In the eighth, however, the Rams scored five runs to open up a 7-2 lead. In the ninth SJU broke through against Ram starter Reid Willet. Willet had retired 24 of 27 Hawks and 13 in a row entering the inning. Junior Kevin Dougher began the inning by being hit by pitch and sophomore Bill McCollum followed with a single through the left side. Following a pitching change, junior Mike Walls walked to load the bases. Senior Justin Godusky then hit a chopper back to the pitcher, but a throw to the plate to get the lead runner sailed over the catcher's head allowing both Dougher and McCollum to score. A wild pitc h allowed Godusky and Walls to advance to second and third base, respectively. advanced to third on a wild pitch. Another walk to junior John Kokol loaded the bases again and another wild pitch scored Walls and moved Godusky and Kokol up another base. Sophomore Jason Tarewicz popped out and junior Jim Kelly lined out, but a RBI single by pinch hitter Nick Baldasari made it a 7-5 game. With the tying run aboard, the Hawks used freshman Rob Pimpinella as another pinch hitter. Pimpinella, however, flied out to end the ball game. Vardijan scattered 10 hits and did not walk a batter over seven innings and allowed six runs (four earned), but suffered the loss to fall to 2-4. Walls extended his hitting streak to 18 in a row with a single to right field. The 18 game string is the longest by an SJU player since Mike DeVincentis hit in 18 straight in 2000. The Hawks will host West Chester on Tuesday night at Latshaw-McCarthy Field and Rider on Thursday.